Parker vs Joshua: Tony Yoka to spar with Kiwi fighter ahead of unification fight

Kiwi Joseph Parker appears to have found his sparring partner to help prepare for his unification title fight against Anthony Joshua.

The two fighters are set to square off in front of a massive crowd at the Principally Stadium in Cardiff on April 1 (NZ time), which sees Parker put his WBO belt and Joshua his IBF, IBO, and WBA belts on the line.

Parker is currently preparing in Las Vegas ahead of the fight and his camp has called in French super heavyweight Tony Yoka as a sparring partner, Sky Sports UK has confirmed.

The 25-year-old won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the super heavyweight division, where he beat Joe Joyce in the final.

Yoka is an inch taller than Joshua at 201cm and has an identical 208cm reach. He is 3-0 as a pro.

"Yes, in two or three weeks to prepare him for his championship [fight] against Joshua," Yoka told Sky Sports UK when asked about sparring with Parker.

Tyson Fury with Joseph Parker.
Tyson Fury with Joseph Parker. Photo credit: Getty Images

"Actually my teammate in the gym, Marlo Moore, went to Joshua's training camp in Sheffield. I'm going to the other side."

But what makes this choice intriguing is the fact Yoka beat Parker in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games gold medal fight.

Last month, Tyson Fury offered to be the 26-year-old Parker's sparring partner but Parker turned down the offer.

"Tyson Fury's a great guy, but with all due respect to him, I don't think it's the right person to spar because he moves around well for a big guy and he doesn't come forward, and he's a lot taller," Parker told RadioLIVE.

"So I think Kev [Kevin Barry] and our team have done some research and we found guys that we think that doesn't have everything Joshua has, but each of them have bits that we can see or help us prepare for what he brings.

"We want guys to come forward and we can just smash them, and for them to throw everything at us - the kitchen sink - and just try and knock us out. But with Fury, as the fighter he is, he's a smart fighter who doesn't stand there, who doesn't absorb a lot of punches and likes to move."