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Anthony Joshua confirms his first fight of 2018 will be against Joseph Parker on March 31

Anthony Joshua confirms his first fight of 2018 as no surprise, will meet New Zealand’s Joseph Parker at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on March 31.

Joshua’s 2018 campaign to become the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis begins here.

If he wins in that aspect Joshua will actually go one better than Lewis because a fifth belt, the IBO has since been added to the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO titles.

Joshua will add up his tally to four if he defeats the also undefeated Parker, who is currently the WBO champion.

Joshua will be a huge betting favourite but Parker is threatening to ‘smash the glass jaw’ of the muscular Englishman, who he believes to be over-rated.

Joshua is returning to the Cardiff scene of his last fight, the harder than expected victory over the unheralded and much smaller Carlos Takam.

He says: ‘These unification fights can be tough as we saw but on that night I came out with my belts and we both received massive respect.’ This is the era of the mega fights in major stadia that Joshua launched with his epic victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley, which added the WBA and IBO titles to his IBF crown.

Fury must first succeed in his application to be relicensed following drugs suspensions, then train off his surplus weight in order to impress in at least one comeback fight. He hopes to make his return to the ring in April.

As Parker insists he will pull off a huge upset against the man who described him as ‘that little kid from New Zealand’.

Speaking further about the Parker fight, Joshua said: ‘These fights aren’t easy as you might see it because there is a lot on the line, so respect to team Parker for taking the challenge. I love this game. I am looking forward to it, training camp is under way and before you know it March 31 will be upon us.’

The negotiations with Parker were complicated and are likely to be even more so with Wilder and Fury, but as his promoter Eddie Hearn says: ‘AJ should be given even more respect for his willingness to come to terms so that he can fulfil his legacy.’

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