Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker: WBO champion underwent ‘secret surgery’ ahead of unification fight

The surgeon who operated on Parker says the surgery has given Parker a greater range of motion and taken away pain ahead of the fight on March 31

Luke Brown
Thursday 22 March 2018 14:10 GMT
Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker hold press conference ahead of heavyweight world title fight

Joseph Parker’s team has insisted the undefeated WBO heavyweight champion is operating at “maximum speed and power” ahead of his unification fight with Anthony Joshua, after it was revealed he underwent elbow surgery barely 12 weeks ago.

With less than two weeks to go until the two undefeated champions meet at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry made the surprise announcement that Parker underwent elbow surgery in his native New Zealand late last year.

He said that Parker had felt "pain and restriction" in both arms for around two years. The left was repaired in November, with surgery on the right commencing just before Christmas.

“There were chips of bone floating in both joints, stress in the sockets and severe confiscation of the bones in those areas,” Barry told the Daily Mail.

“Joseph has been in such pain that we had to limit his training sessions, especially his punching.

“Without question this had a big effect on his performances in 2017. By the time he came over here to fight [Hughie] Fury he couldn't straighten his left arm. So he couldn't lead with his jab as normal and had to rely on just throwing left hooks.

“We have not been secretive. All the media who came to our sunshine training camp in Las Vegas will have seen the scars on both elbows.”

The surgeon who operated on Parker, Craig Ball, says the surgery has given Parker a greater range of motion and taken away pain.

Parker laboured past Fury in his last fight (Getty)

And Barry has insisted that the Parker that steps into the ring with Joshua on March 31 will be a completely different fighter than the one who stopped Fury last September.

In a largely underwhelming world title fight at the Manchester Arena, Parker registered a controversial points win, with one judge scoring the contest a 114-114 draw, the other two giving it to the champion by 118-110.

“So successful has the surgery been that Joe is happier than for a long time. He is pain-free and in much better condition,” Barry added.

Barry speaking alongside Parker (Getty)

“Because he can train normally, he is leaner and with a glow on him, as people have noticed since he's arrived in London.

“So the Joseph Parker that you saw against Fury will not be the man you'll meet in the ring in Cardiff on March 31. He will be faster, able to throw more punches and hitting with the power of two years ago.

“I would say that he is now punching as heavily as Joshua. The surgery has balanced out the power between them.”

Joseph Parker fights Anthony Joshua on March 31 (Getty)

Parker is hoping to take Joshua's WBA, IBF and IBO belts in the fight on March 31 in Cardiff.

The fight takes place in less than two weeks’ time and you can find all the latest news here.

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