Joshua denies Parker drug claim ahead of unification fight
Opponent labelled Joshua “king of steroids” in radio interview on Monday but has since backtracked.
Anthony Joshua denies taking steroids in response to Joseph Parker’s accusation ahead of their heavyweight unification fight that he uses performance-enhancing drugs.
The unbeaten rivals clash at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on March 31 when Joshua’s IBF and WBA belts will be at stake against the WBO crown held by Parker.
🇬🇧🤜🏾🤛🏻🇳🇿 pic.twitter.com/RS4NXgLX08— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) January 14, 2018
In a radio interview given in his native New Zealand on Monday, Parker called his opponent the “king of steroids”, adding “if you are that big and that muscly, there’s something wrong” and “there are a lot of ways you can dodge drug testing”.
The claim, which has since been withdrawn by Parker and his promoter David Higgins, was rejected by Joshua at the London press conference staged on Tuesday to officially announce the fight.
“I’ve heard so much in boxing trash talk that nothing’s new any more. It’s a fairly serious charge to make. Can I sue Parker?! No, I’m joking,” Joshua said.
“I know my records are clean. Every time I’m tested, and I know what I’ve paid to be voluntarily tested. That’s why I don’t bite at what he says.
“If I’m not clean, you’ll find out during this fight. If I haven’t been clean for all my other fights, you’ll see me struggle against Parker because anything I have been taking will be out of my system.
“You’ll find out in this fight whether I’m the super-human or I’ve got something pushing on this super-human power that he claims I have.”
When the issue of Tyson Fury’s back-dated ban for drug-taking was raised, Joshua stressed that the implications of using steroids in boxing extend beyond the ethical.
The British rivals are on a collision course if Fury is granted a boxing license and makes a successful comeback having served the retrospective suspension issued by UK Anti-Doping and dispelled more than two years of inactivity.
“If it was me I’d get a lot more stick. Fury’s lucky. It’s not good because in this sport your life is on the line,” Joshua said.
“Anything to do with that type of stuff you have to be careful. People’s lives are on the line.
“It’s not like a game of golf where it’s just the minds. This is physical and there’s real damage. It’s a shame people get caught up in that kind of stuff.”
Parker, who has won all 24 of his fights and amassed 18 knockouts, adopted a far more diplomatic tone when meeting Joshua for the first time on Tuesday.
Sweat up before the presser 👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/37sGhIVu8t— Joseph Parker (@joeboxerparker) January 16, 2018
Instead, Higgins took on the role of antagonist by leaping on Joshua’s knockdowns as an amateur and by Wladimir Klitschko as evidence he is vulnerable, adding that the 28-year-old from Watford has “mental weaknesses”.
“Do you know what I learned when I was dropped in the Klitschko fight? That it will take more than a human stop me from getting where I’m destined to be,” Joshua said.
“I’ve learned not to walk with sight on this journey, but with faith. The rumours that you have heard are fake news, hand on heart. I’ve learned from adversity and through going through the storm.
“I’m not into the verbals. I’d fight him in the car park for free, it doesn’t matter to me. That’s what a fighter’s mindset is.”