Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker: Joshua 'disrespectful' for blanking NZ media

Parker says Joshua should be 'more respectful' to New Zealand media
Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 31 March
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and mobile app

Joseph Parker has accused Anthony Joshua of showing a lack of respect before their heavyweight title fight.

The New Zealander said his British rival refused to speak to journalists from his homeland and Samoa at a media session earlier this week.

WBA and IBF world heavyweight champion Joshua, 28, faces WBO title holder Parker in Cardiff on 31 March.

Parker, 26, who also claims he is "in the best shape" after elbow surgery in December, said Joshua was in the wrong.

"It's a little disrespectful because they've travelled a long way to come and see him," he said.

"We were in camp in Vegas; we had a lot of British media come over and we were very friendly.

"He should just be a bit more respectful in talking to everyone who was there. Hopefully in future he can make it better."

The two fighters are undefeated, with Joshua winning all 20 of his contests, while Parker has 24 wins.

The victor of their bout will hold three of the four recognised world heavyweight titles, with American Deontay Wilder holding the fourth.

Elbow surgery has 'made a big difference'

Parker (left) retained his WBO World Heavyweight title and remained unbeaten with a win over Fury by majority decision at Manchester Arena last September
Parker (left) retained his WBO World Heavyweight title and remained unbeaten with a win over Hughie Fury by majority decision at Manchester Arena last September

Parker said he has suffered long-standing elbow problems which hampered his recent fights - including September's win over Tyson Fury's cousin Hughie - and required surgery at the end of last year.

He underwent operations on each elbow, but now feels better than ever.

"We tried to schedule in a surgery numerous times but opportunities came up which pushed it back and pushed it back," he said. "In the last two years I've been training and fighting while not 100% and you can see that from the previous fights.

"They weren't the best displays and no questions the surgery has had a lot of benefits. We haven't had any troubles in camp or complaints.

"I've been training 100% full body and feel like this is the best shape we've had in a long time. That's why I'm so confident.

"It's made a big difference and I look forward to showing you guys the difference it's made."

Joshua has called Parker a "weird character"external-link on a national radio station, but the Kiwi responded by saying it was a welcome sign of charisma from the Watford-born fighter in interviews.

"I respect him," he said. "He's a likable guy. It's interesting he said that because he has stepped out of his comfort zone and said something interesting.

"He's been boring lately. It's good, he's taken his first step and now maybe he can say a bit more."

'People think it's an easy win for him'

I'm confident, not overconfident - Joshua

Auckland-born Parker is being motivated by the fact he thinks "the public are underestimating me and my team".

"They're basing it on my last three fights and see Joshua as unbeatable but I have an element of surprise," he added.

"People think it's an easy win for him and it's extra motivation for us. Everything has been clicking well in camp and we've done everything right.

"My motivation is being unified heavyweight champion of the world, making New Zealand and my family proud.

"Me and my team have worked hard to get here and now I want to put on the best performance of my life."