Joshua v Parker could be closer than expected

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Anthony Joshua has a chance to add the WBO title to his collection on Saturday night as he puts his WBA, IBF and IBO crowns on the line against Joseph Parker.

Parker said he was ready to “go to war” with the British heavyweight world champion at the public workout on Wednesday and is 17/4 to inflict a first defeat on Joshua as a professional.

Joshua is the heavy favourite at 1/6 or 1/4 to make it 21 wins inside the distance in as many fights with a KO, TKO or disqualification success.

The Londoner has the more eye-catching wins on his record, having seen off Dillian Whyte and Wladimir Klitschko, but Parker is also unbeaten although he is yet to add to his 18 stoppages since making the step up to world level.

However, the New Zealander has never looked in trouble despite taking a few big hits and over 8.5 rounds looks a shrewd bet at 27/20.

In contrast, Joshua has been rocked a few times – most notably by Klitschko when sent to the canvas but also by Whyte – and is an appealing 6/1 to be knocked down or 8/1 to be knocked down and go on to win the fight.

Carlos Takam is the only man both have faced and as such provides a good marker for this one.

The 37-year-old went the distance with Parker and lasted until the 10th round before becoming Joshua’s 20th victim although many felt the stoppage came too early.

The fact Takam managed to take Joshua into the latter rounds, combined with Parker’s resilience and his unbeaten record, suggests this could go further than a lot of pundits are expecting.

A Joshua win in rounds 9-12 pays out at 15/4 while the New Zealander is 20/1 to do the same.

The Briton is 9/2 to secure a first win by decision or technical decision and Parker is 14/1 to get the decision from the judges for what would be a fourth successive fight.

This contest may be a close one and the over 8.5 rounds option at 27/20 could be the best bet in this heavyweight match-up.

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