Boxing: Exclusive - Anthony Joshua welcomes rematch with Joseph Parker, promises violent ending

Anthony Joshua would be honoured to share the ring again with Joseph Parker - but sends an ominous warning to the Kiwi heavyweight. 

As the Brit prepares for his first bout of 2020, the division continues to be convoluted, with contenders doing their talking outside the ring.

When the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to sport, boxing suffered as much as any - specifically the heavyweight division, which seemed on course to crown an undisputed champion this year.

But only a handful of the top 15 have stepped inside the ring this year, leaving the division virtually stagnant.

That changes on Sunday (NZ time), when Joshua defends his WBO, IBF and WBA titles against 1.95m (6ft 4in) Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in London.

A win for Joshua would hopefully lead to a unification bout with WBC champion Tyson Fury early next year, finally giving the heavyweight division a first unified champion, since Lennox Lewis in 1999.

In the mix to spoil that plan is former WBO champion Parker, who is set to fight Junior Fa in February or March 2021. 

The 28-year-old came up short against Joshua in 2018, although he remains the only man 'AJ' has failed to drop in 22 fights. 

Speaking exclusively to Newshub, Joshua says he holds huge respect for Parker and wouldn't be shocked to see him earn another title title shot within the next 12 months.

But Joshua says the outcome would be the same - just more violent. 

"I like Joseph - he's a good man, " Joshua tells Newshub. "That was a technical fight, where I wanted to show off my boxing skills and I never quite created the opportunity to 'sleep' him.

"He has a great team behind him over there - a great trainer - and he's dangerous and super quick, but if we fought again, I would knock him out.

"But much respect to Joe and I hope I will see him again soon."

Before that, though, Joshua must overcome the stiff challenge of Pulev, who has just one defeat in 29 fights.

That came in 2014 against Wladimir Klitschko and since then, the 39-year-old has won eight straight fights, beating contenders Hughie Fury, Derek Chisora and Kevin Johnson.

Joshua is well aware of the challenge before him, but plans on leaving London as he entered - the champion.

"I want to be the unified champion and to do that I have to beat Kubrat. This is a tough fight - he's lost once in 11 years and beaten some top guys.

"But I've made a lot of changes - both mentally and physically - since New York [loss to Andy Ruiz] and I feel very confident that I will get the job done."

After that, Joshua hopes to fight Fury, but the murky waters of the heavyweight division are likely to throw up another curveball or two.

Regardless, Joshua's focus is simple - to be the best.

"That fight will be the biggest in the history of UK boxing," Joshua tells Newshub. "It will be big all over the world, but we both have to keep winning to make it happen.

"I want to fight Tyson and I'm pretty sure he wants to fight me, so we will see what happens.

"The boxing world needs an undisputed heavyweight champion."

Join Newshub for live updates of Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev from 8am Sunday.