A brass band for Anthony Joshua and a sipi tau and haka on the stage for Joseph Parker – today's weigh-in had something for everyone, including a surprisingly small 2.5kg weight advantage for the Englishman.

Joshua, brought to the Motorpoint Arena stage here in Cardiff behind a drum and horn ensemble playing the White Stripes' Seven Nations Army, the big crowd of about four thousand cheering and singing his name every step of the way, tipped the scales at 109.9kg, the lightest he has been in 10 fights dating back to late 2014.

Parker, who walked out first and smiled at his traditionally-dressed countrymen and women as he passed them on stage, weighed 107.3kg, the lightest he has been in six fights. The last time he was lighter was for the Solomon Haumono bout in Christchurch in July, 2016.

Read more:
Parker has date with destiny

Advertisement

"He looked really good, but that's what I expect from a champion, I wouldn't expect it any other way," Joshua said of Parker afterwards.

The official weigh-in between Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua held at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. 30 March 2018 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.
The official weigh-in between Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua held at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. 30 March 2018 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.

The traditional staredown passed without drama, the pair shaking hands (prompted by Joshua), and Parker saying "all the best" to his opponent at the end of a short conversation. Joshua then shook hands with Parker's trainer Kevin Barry.

The hype and scale of the weigh-in, a ticketed event for the public – the crowd paid $2 each which will be donated to the family of British boxer Scott Westgarth, who died after winning a fight in February at the age of 31 – brought home what the world heavyweight unification main event will be like at Principality Stadium tomorrow morning.

The crowd had been warmed up by yet more banter between rival promoters Eddie Hearn and David Higgins, the New Zealander playing his part of cartoon-like villain to perfection and the boos rang out loud and long.

The official weigh-in between Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua held at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. 30 March 2018 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.
The official weigh-in between Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua held at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. 30 March 2018 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.

And the anticipation built as each fighter was introduced by veteran ring announcer Michael Buffer before they made their way down an aisle between the barriers was something to behold, and this just for the weigh-in.

Both men were pleased with their weight and condition. For Parker it was the culmination of a gruelling 11-week camp which it is understood he began weighing 121kg. He was 111.1kg for his last fight against Hughie Fury in September.

Joshua, a little sluggish and tired against Carlos Takam here in October, was determined to lose weight to help with his movement.

"I've been running well, training well," he said. "There have been tough times in camp but honestly, losing that extra bit of weight has made it that little bit easier.

Advertisement

"Training camp is all about rehearsal, sparring is rehearsal, so when I put this weight into the real thing, if everything goes to plan you'll see I'll be a lot sharper and my reactions and timing will be a lot better."

Two days out from boxing's heavyweight unification bout in Cardiff, Joseph Parker's mother Sala has some advice for Joseph's opponent, Anthony Joshua.

Asked about Parker's condition, he said: "I'm always aware that when people are coming over to this side to fight they come well prepared. You'll be in for a good fight for sure.

"Boxing's not just about brute strength, it's about finesse and technique and you're going to see some world class skills on Saturday night," Joshua said.

Boxer Anthony Joshua arrives for the official weigh-in between Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua held at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Boxer Anthony Joshua arrives for the official weigh-in between Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua held at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. Photo / Dean Purcell.

"When I watch boxing and I go back years ago and I see certain fighters win titles and they drop to their knees crying and all that stuff – I've never really done that but I think this will be a real emotional time because we're creating history. There's always been talk of what's happening next and I've said this is my main focus. Joseph Parker is my main focus.

"Providing I secure this win we're on to make history in late 2018," Joshua said with reference to a possible unification fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

Parker told Sky Sports afterwards: "Us being close in weight makes me think he is taking it seriously.

"We are similar, we will both be fast tomorrow and throwing bombs. I saw he is confident, I'm expecting a really good fight.

"The first few rounds could go either way. It depends who follows their game plan better – I'm ready for anything.

"I'm here for war, you'll have to do everything to beat me.

"The biggest thing for me is the challenge of fighting someone like Joshua, and the challenge of if it goes into a dark place, how long will I stay there for? How fast can I come back?

"The result will take care of itself, as long as I'm ready and determined and confident. I'm here to win."