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06th Mar 2018

Anthony Joshua has enlisted the help of a very familiar face for sparring

A blast from the very recent past

Darragh Murphy

Anthony Joshua is not looking for any shortcuts in sparring.

Joshua was so impressed by his most recent opponent that he’s invited him to Sheffield to help him prepare for his upcoming unification clash with Joseph Parker.

‘AJ’ will attempt to add Parker’s WBO heavyweight title to his already impressive collection when they meet one another in Cardiff at the end of the month.

Joshua certainly enjoyed his last trip to the Welsh capital, where he successfully defended his belts against late replacement Carlos Takam.

Takam became only the second fighter to take Joshua beyond the seventh round when they met at the Principality Stadium last October.

The Cameroonian-French heavyweight is also one of only two fighters to have shared the ring with both Joshua and Parker, having gone the distance with Parker in a unanimous decision defeat in 2016.

And Joshua was eager to receive some insight into what he can expect from the Kiwi by bringing Takam in for some last-minute sparring.

The London 2012 gold medallist has used Eddie Hearn’s friendly relationship with Takam’s camp to convince the veteran to travel to the UK for some work in the gym.

Hearn called Takam’s managerment and the phonecall was captured by talkSPORT as the Matchroom boss tried to persuade them to send over the WBC Silver heavyweight champion.

“AJ doesn’t want to spar someone who is not on a world level, AJ wants someone who is competitive,” Hearn said.

It’s rare for a promoter to organise sparring partners for fighters but given the status of Joshua, Hearn made an exception and picked up the phone.

Takam’s team were initially reluctant to allow the 37-year-old to spar Joshua as they felt it was an insult to a fighter who they felt should be competing for world titles.

“It’s a compliment that AJ has six or seven sparring partners but has said ‘I want Takam because I believe that’s a great spar, he can give me great work’,” Hearn said.