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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Joesph Parker does it again, Anthony Joshua annihilates Francis Ngannou

Joesph Parker does it again, Anthony Joshua annihilates Francis Ngannou

Publish Date: 03/12/2024
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

At 32, after getting brutally knocked out by Joe Joyce two years ago, Joesph Parker appears to be in his prime. Crazy, I know.

Parker has always been what he is – a good heavyweight in a weak era.

Before this year, Parker lost his biggest fights, excluding a debatable decision over Andy Ruiz to capture the WBO heavyweight title in 2016.

Back-to-back losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte followed. Parker won a few fights and then hooked up with former middleweight champion and now trainer Andy Lee. Parker defeated old guard Derrick Choisora twice but then ran into Joyce. The loss was so definitive that some advised Parker to retire.

Instead, Parker went back to work with Lee. A win over unknown Simon Kean set up what looked to be a big payday against limited big puncher and former heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder.

Wilder was favored by as much as 6-1. The former champ packs a bomb in his right hand. He’s scored 42 knockouts in his 43 wins. Though flawed as stated, only current heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has defeated him. The thinking was Parker would be Wilder’s 43rd victim.

Think again. Parker was quietly confident all fight week. He had a plan, but could he execute it?

I’ll say. He stayed out of range from Wilder’s right and won rounds. The KO artist didn’t pursue him until later in the fight. Parker stayed busier, stunning Wilder late and running away with the decision.

Fast-forward to last Friday. Parker is back fighting the hulking Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang. He’s powerful. Parker and Lee are quietly confident. It’s Déjà vu.

Parker uses feints and quick moves to keep the move slower Zhang off balance. He’s winning rounds until Zhang knocks him down in round four. Parker is woozy but fights back. He’s down again later in the fight but stays calm and outworks Zhang.

 

He wins the fight by majority decision. His reward? Parker gets to fight Zhang again in the fall. Oh, the ways of boxing.

And then there’s Anthony Joshua. He of the fragile psyche and suspect chin. A seemingly – 6-foot-6 head case. Undefeated until stopped by Ruiz. That loss unraveled him in more ways than met the eye. He beat Ruiz in the rematch by moving and jabbing, but the power punching Joshua from before was gone. His confidence was still shaky.

Two losses to Oleksandr Usyk caused more mental anguish. He tried a different trainer. Can’t fire yourself.

Joshua actually fought well in the second fight against Usyk but still seemed hesitant to exchange. Social media roasted him. He won two fights in a row and faced Swedish heavyweight Otto Wallin. With coach Ben Davison working with him, Joshua destroyed Wallin. Davison is an intelligent guy. He seems to understand what Joshua needs.

What is that?

Reinforcement.

“It has always been all AJ,” Davison told IFLTV. “We did not have a magic wand or anything; I just helped him select the right tools for the job.”

The new and old Joshua was present when he fought MMA star Francis Ngannou. The pressure was intense. Many boxing experts picked Ngannou to win. For a minute, the fight was competitive. Ngannou, who shocked the boxing community by hanging in (and some say winning) against Tyson Fury, countered Joshua’s jabs with lefts. One landed. Joshua went downstairs then brought his right hand up, knocking Ngannou down. The big man got up with a look that said, “How could that have happened”?

Easy. Joshua repeated it two more times. The last time – as a woozy Ngannou waited for him like a condemned man, Joshua strolled over and uncorked a wicked right that knocked Ngannou cold.

Joshua didn’t celebrate. After Ngannou regained consciousness, Joshua consoled him.

Many had picked Joshua to lose. This time, he was steady and focused. His confidence never waved. He attacked and delivered.

Not everyone found it impressive.

I did.

Anthony Joshua has a complicated personality. He’s been battling opponents and himself.

Joshua appears to be at peace with who he is.

 

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