Boxing Blog: Boxing-mania, Parker-Pride or Joshua-frenzy - 'Heavyweight boxing is full of upsets. The question is will this be one of them?'

It's hard not to get caught up in the Boxing-mania, Parker-Pride or Joshua-frenzy... whatever you call it - the hype draws you in.

I must admit - I'm no boxing expert or fan. In fact, until January I don't think I'd ever done a story on boxing in my life but for the past two months I've been schooling up on the sport and in the past fortnight it's consumed my every working (and incidentally waking) moment.

What I struggle to comprehend is how two of the nicest guys with genuine charisma and charm get paid to squillions to punch each other for a living. But it certainly draws in the crowds.

The media frenzy is jaw-dropping. To get a spot at the official press conferences, the cameraman and I arrive an hour before the doors even open (which is usually a couple of hours before the actual start time) so we can get in a queue. Then when the doors open, if we're near the front of the queue we have some hope of getting our camera in a half decent spot.

Parker held a private training session in his hotel in Cardiff where he showed all the hard work he's put in for this Sunday. Source: 1 NEWS

There are literally hundreds of media at each press event.

Parker was always up for a battle to win over the British boxing fans. His opponent Anthony Joshua is a national hero. There are billboards of him everywhere - he has multiple sponsorship deals and his sweaty mug and ripped torso is plastered on bus stops, buildings and at train stations.

I've noticed a big change in the UK journalists and their attitudes towards our Kiwi Golden Boy though. Two months ago, when the fight was announced, there was next to no talk of Parker standing much of a chance, but slowly the very laid back Parker has won them over.

The Parker camp have invited the UK media into all parts of their preparation and his trainer Kevin Barry's hospitality hasn't gone unnoticed.

The slimmed down Parker with his fast arms and feet is certainly impressing too.

The boxing commentators I've been speaking with certainly rate him now as having a shot. They still back their man "AJ" in the ring but there is a true fear that Parker could do some serious damage to their national icon.

Parker was all smiles during his workout in Cardiff today. Source: 1 NEWS

Parker is winning fans wherever he goes. He was cheered into the ring for his public workout in Cardiff on Thursday (NZT) and swamped by fans. According to veteran boxing journalists it's the most rapturous welcome an Anthony Joshua opponent has ever received.

The UK bookmaker Ladbrokes says Joseph Parker will head into the ring as Anthony Joshua's most popular opponent ever - although still very much an underdog. They say no other fighter in Joshua's last 20 matches has been more popular in terms of bets placed, with 66% of punters backing the New Zealander in the Match Betting market.

Parker's Samoan heritage and the warrior spirit appears to resonate with people here. And at 5/1 to win, that means were Parker to cause an upset, Ladbrokes would stand to lose record amounts.

But as they say - there’s never any sure bet in boxing. Heavyweight boxing is full of upsets. The question is will this be one of them?

I guess we'll soon find out.

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