Anthony Joshua: Rob McCracken wants lighter fighter as Joseph Parker bout nears

Rob McCracken (right) says Joshua's weight will be monitored more strictly in the days leading up to a fight
Rob McCracken (right) says Joshua's weight will be monitored more strictly in the days leading up to a fight

Anthony Joshua's coach wants the world heavyweight champion to have a lower fighting weight as a unification bout with Joseph Parker draws closer.

Joshua, 28, scaled a career-high 18st 2lb in beating Carlos Takam in October.

The WBA and IBF champion is aiming to hit 17st 10lb, says long-standing coach Robert McCracken.

"The emphasis is on being as quick as possible and taking as little punishment, [being] a bit lighter would allow him to do that," said McCracken.

"He's a bit lighter [than he was in his last fight] at the minute, he's probably eased off a bit on the conditioning side of things strength wise," McCracken told BBC Radio 5 live's boxing podcast.

"We do 12 weeks for his fights so I can give him some days off during the camp here and there as we go. He's done four weeks with me in London before Christmas - boxing and cardio - so he's in good shape, sharper and a little bit leaner than he was of late."

Anthony Joshua
Steve Bunce believes Parker will offer a trickier challenge to Joshua than many may think

Joshua's weight was a talking point going into the 10th-round stoppage win over Takam and followed his decision to employ an in-house chef at his training camp for the first time.

Some pundits believe he added late weight as a result of a change of opponent following Kubrat Pulev's withdrawal from the bout less than two weeks before it was due to take place.

But McCracken says the week leading up to a fight - when Joshua eases his training load in order to rest - will be monitored "more strictly than we did in the past".

Joshua is expected to face WBO champion Parker in late March, with the New Zealand fighter's promoter due in the United Kingdom this week to finalise paperwork.

'Parker threat is underestimated'

BBC Radio 5 live boxing analyst Steve Bunce:

If we actually analyse Parker, there's this misconception that he's so much smaller, so much lighter and different to Joshua. I don't think he is.

One thing we overlook is his amateur pedigree - about six years on the circuit - fighting in major events all over the world. This guy built up a solid pedigree.

This time last year, these two weighed the same. There's less than two inches between them. Parker has that thing that heavyweights absolutely need - a jab. There's a lot more to this than the 'Joshua the beast from Watford' angle.

I'm convinced Joshua gained 10lbs in the last days of the Takam fight because he was fighting a totally different bloke. Against Pulev he'd have had to be a bit smarter or faster. Against Takam he knew he would just have to keep whacking him all night.