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30th Mar 2018

Anthony Joshua at his lightest in years as he weighs in for unification showdown

A much leaner 'AJ'

Darragh Murphy

Anthony Joshua has stayed true to his weigh-in promise.

Joshua has made no secret of his desire to come in slightly lighter for Saturday’s heavyweight unification showdown with WBO champion Joseph Parker.

Having shocked many by weighing in at a career-heaviest 18st 2lbs for his clash with Carlos Takam last October, ‘AJ’ felt it necessary to trim down for the challenge of Parker in Cardiff.

On Friday afternoon, Joshua weighed in at 17st 4lbs, his lowest official weight in several years while Parker came in lighter again at 16st 12lbs.

The last time that ‘AJ’ weighed in less than 17st 6lbs was back in 2016, when he defended his IBF heavyweight title against Dominic Breazeale.

For this camp, the London 2012 gold medallist re-enlisted the help of esteemed nutritionist Mark Ellison, who also works with Manchester United.

“I think I’ve learned about my weight now and as I get older, what I’m eating,” Joshua said in the build-up.

“I think speed is in power. When you’re heavy and you try to club these durable fighters, it’s not that simple just to go ‘boom’.

“Just because I’m the most muscly man, it doesn’t mean I can just hit someone and knock them out.

“It’s the shot that you don’t see coming that knocks you out.

“When I’m quicker – bang, bang, bang – that’s when I can knock my opponents down a lot easier.”

At the beginning of the year, Joshua’s head coach Robert McCracken set the 28-year-old a target of 17st 10lbs in the hope that Joshua would be more mobile in the ring.

“The emphasis is on being as quick as possible and taking as little punishment, [being] a bit lighter would allow him to do that,” McCracken told BBC Radio 5 live’s boxing podcast in January.

Well, as he’s done several times in his career, Joshua has surpassed that expectation by coming in remarkably light ahead of Saturday’s monster fight.