Joshua angered by pre-fight comments

Wilder ‘can’t wait’ for Joshua

Anthony Joshua has warned Joseph Parker’s promoter to repeat a knockout prediction to him at their upcoming press conference, says Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn.

The British heavyweight star has been angered by pre-fight comments in an email from David Higgins of Duco Events before his unification clash with Parker in Cardiff on March 31.

And Joshua challenged Higgins to back up his words when they meet again in front of the watching media on Tuesday after Hearn showed him a message from his rival promoter.

“I like David Higgins and I want him to speak up,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “I want him to look Anthony Joshua in the eye and tell him the banterish stuff he says to me.

“I just told Anthony that he basically said you are going to get knocked spark out, and Joshua said: ‘Okay, let’s hear it next Tuesday than at the press conference.’

“I’m giving him notice and I’m saying next Tuesday we want to hear it, from you and Joseph Parker.”

WBO title holder Parker and his team had adopted a respectful approach at the last press conference, despite a long-running media campaign in which they questioned Joshua’s punch resistance.

“You cannot say all this stuff in the build-up to get the fight and when the deal is done, go quiet,” said Hearn.

“Parker and his team believe 100 percent they are going to knock Anthony Joshua out and he’s been exactly the same. There is a nice little mix there between him and me, and what I did was filled Anthony in on something that Mr Higgins has said, and I think it’s added a little bit of spite.

“They are on notice. I want you to look in the eyes of Anthony Joshua and tell him what you truly believe will happen in this fight.”

But Higgins suggested that Hearn is trying to prompt an emotional reaction from his own fighter and stands by his previous assessment of the WBA ‘super’ and IBF champion.

“Eddie and I have a funny relationship,” said Higgins. “We get on good, and there’s banter. Maybe he’s trying to wind AJ up? I don’t know. I can’t answer.

“Do I back stab Joshua? No, I don’t say anything that I don’t think is factual.

“It’s hard to wind AJ up. Maybe Eddie showed him a message to fire him up a bit. There’s no cloak and dagger. I have talked publicly about Joshua’s weaknesses.

“I stand by them. I think he’s a bit slow and less mobile than Joseph Parker. I think his chin on paper is not as good. He has been dropped a few times. Parker has never been dropped in his life. That’s not trash talk, that’s fact.”