Former WBO heavyweight Joseph Parker has thrown his support behind former opponent Anthony Joshua as he prepares to face Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch on September 25th. (Bout Winner – Oleksandr Usyk 8/15, Anthony Joshua 6/4, draw 20/1).
“He can always be dangerous,” said Parker in pre-fight parlance with British media.
“He possesses the natural heavyweight ability to hurt people and to hurt other heavyweights.”
Joshua first faced Usyk in front of a packed-out Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September. His defeat to the Ukrainian – dominant from the early stages of the fight – on a unanimous points decision saw him lose his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles.
A rematch bout is set for the Jeddah Superdrome in Saudi Arabia in less than a fortnight.
Parker, who lost his world championship to the British slugger on points in 2018, was keen to back the challenger in the reunion.
“He was a good champion, and he can be champion again,” he said.
“There’s a lot of support for him.”
“It’s up to him and his new team to make the changes that he needs to attack what Usyk’s going to bring.”
Joshua (6/1 to win on points against Usyk) will hope a change in support personnel might tip the balance in his favour in Jeddah; the Olympic gold medallist parted ways with long-time partner Rob McCracken following his loss last year. He opted to bring in the experienced American Robert Garcia to man his corner.
The penultimate fight on a packed undercard in Saudi Arabia will see another former champion, Badou Jack of Sweden, take on American Richard Rivera, who comes into the contest with an unblemished record from 21 fights.
Beforehand, Callum Smith faces Mathieu Bauderlique in a final eliminator bout for the WBC light heavyweight belt.