Parker vs Joshua: Hostile environment awaits Kiwi champion at Principality stadium

Saturday Sport 31/03/2018
Photo: AAP.

Joseph Parker got his first taste of a hostile Welsh crowd at the weigh-in on Friday (Saturday NZ time) ahead of his heavyweight showdown against Anthony Joshua, but it will be much worse when fight time rolls around, according to one boxing expert.

Former cruiserweight world champion and current Sky Sports UK boxing expert Johnny Nelson is warning there's more hostility to come, and it will be taken to an extra level when the Kiwi walks out to the ring at Principality Stadium.

A crowd 4,500 were on hand at Motorpoint Arena for the official weigh-in on Saturday (NZ time) ahead of the unification bout in Cardiff. 

The fans where loud and were chanting 'oh, Anthony Joshua' and booing the Kiwi. They did the same during the haka and Samoan siva before the 26-year-old was on the stage.

Johnny Nelson. Photo credit: Reuters

But walking out in front of 80,000 will be heaps different compared to 4,500.

"That is going to be nothing compared to Joseph Parker walking into the Principality Stadium in front of 80,000 people," Nelson told Newshub.

"If he has some fans there, you won't be able to hear them, so this is something that Joseph Parker has never seen in his life. This is the responsibility as a champion.

"As a champion, he is doing the right thing, he is willing to travel away, and if you're a true champion, you'll be able to defend your title and bring it home." 

Fans at the weigh-in agree.

"100 percent," one said. "He just has to ignore it and go for it."

"The promoter has taken it worse than he has," another said. "I think it is going to be very hostile but he is a world champion, and he has been very calm all week."

Parker - the WBO champion - weighed in at 107kg, 4kg lighter than his last fight against Hughie Fury in September.

Joshua, the WBA (Super), IBF and IBO champion weighted in slightly heavier, tipping the scales at 110 kg, over 5kg lighter than for his previous fight against Carlos Takam in October.

Newshub.