Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker

Anthony Joshua

He’d already notched some great achievements in his career but 2017 was the best year in boxer Anthony Joshua’s sporting life. The 28 year old won’t let the small matter of losing out to Mo Farah in BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year bother him either as he starts to consolidate in 2018.

First up for AJ this year is a defence of his heavyweight world titles against New Zealand’s Joseph Parker with the fight taking place in Cardiff on March 31st. As the multiple title holder, Joshua is an obvious favourite but there is no doubt that he is coming up against an opponent with a formidable record.

Unbeaten

Parker comes into this fight as the reigning WBO heavyweight champion and after 24 professional fights, the Kiwi remains undefeated, winning 18 of those bouts by knockout. It’s an impressive record, even if it doesn’t quite match that of Joshua who has 20 wins from 20, all of them by knockout.

This is a unification bout with Parker putting that WBO crown on the line against the IBF, WBA and IBO titles held by Joshua so, with two men at the peak of their game, how do the bookmakers read this one?

Out in Front

While the two fighters may look comparable in terms of their records, the bookmakers are coming down heavily in favour of Anthony Joshua who is as short as 1/15 in places. Elsewhere, AJ is available at a better price of 1/8 with William Hill but that’s still at a point that makes the British fighter look unbackable.

Meanwhile, victory for Parker is available at a top price of 7/1 with Winner Sports while the draw completes the list of result betting options at best odds of 40/1 with BetBright.

While 2017 brought its fair share of surprise results in the ring, it’s tough to argue with the bookmakers here. The overall records may be similar but Joshua has simply fought better fighters and his monumental victory over Wladimir Klitschko last year underlines that. That’s a feat that his next opponent would find hard to match so, if you want any value from this fight, we think you’ll have to look beyond the result betting.

Side Bets

Joseph Parker

The first place to start for most boxing punters is with the method of victory and many will consider whether Anthony Joshua can keep up his sequence of wins by knockout. Once again, the prices here remain short with AJ available to win by KO, TKO or disqualification set at a best of 3/10 with MarathonBet.

For the sake of balance, Joseph Parker to win by any of those three methods can be backed at 10/1 with SkyBet. Considering that the British fighter likes to get his bouts over inside the distance, Parker’s best option may be to put Joshua on the floor or alternatively, those that are getting behind the Kiwi may feel that Parker by decision, at best odds of 33/1 with Stan James and Sun Bets, is the only option.

Hitting the Deck

We know that both Joshua and Parker have a history of putting their opponents on the floor so we could use that to explore some other potential side bets. BetFinal have a market for Both Fighters to be Knocked Down and there are tempting odds of 10/1 on both Parker and Joshua to hit the canvas in this fight.

Alternatively, the same bookmaker has prices on either man to be knocked down and to then come back and win the bout. BetFinal have Anthony Joshua to do this at 8/1 while there is a 25/1 price available for Joseph Parker to complete the same feat.

All About Timing

Coming back to the more conventional betting markets and there is the option to bet on when the fight will end and whether it will go the distance. Needless to say, the bookies feel that the bout will end inside the 12 rounds and you can get short best odds of 1/5 with Ladbrokes and Coral on this fight to not go the distance.

Alternatively, if you feel it will go the full 12 rounds, BetBright and Sun Bets have quoted 4/1 for this option in the same market.

Beyond that, punters can also speculate on when they think the fight will actually come to a conclusion. Either man to win in rounds 1 to 6 is the favourite here but this carries what looks to be a reasonable price of Even Money with either Coral or Ladbrokes.

Alternatively, either Joshua or Parker to win this fight in rounds 7 to 12 carries a best price of 8/5 with the same two bookmakers and as they both seem like resilient men, this is one of the more tempting options for us.

Verdict

Given the respective qualities of these two fighters we’re not expecting any form of shock when they meet in Cardiff on March 31st. Ignore the fact that the records are similar, Anthony Joshua has come through a much tougher set of opponents to achieve those three world titles and there is a clear gulf in class. Odds of 1/8 on a Joshua win aren’t exactly tempting us however so it’s a case of finding some value in the side bets.

Parker may not win it but he looks like a man who can take a punch so it’s possible he can take AJ right to the end of the twelfth round and those odds of 4/1 from BetBright for the fight to go the full distance look seriously tempting.

However, we’re backing the British fighter to complete another victory inside 12 rounds but amongst all of the side bets available for this bout, perhaps the most logical option is to take those 8/5 odds on either man to win, most likely Anthony Joshua, in rounds 7 to 12.

Best Bet for Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker