Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko: Referee to oversee heavyweight title fight is a former sparring partner of 'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler

Gareth A Davies
Anthony Joshua (left) and Wladimir Klitschko will meet in the ring at Wembley on Saturday night  - Getty Images Sport

David Fields, the American referee who will oversee the contest between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night is a former sparring partner of 'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler.

Fields, from New Jersey, from 1977 onward sparred for several years with the former middleweight world champion Hagler, both before and after the revered southpaw puncher became a world title holder.

The 17-year veteran referee and former light heavyweight boxer who has overseen major world title fights including Bernard Hopkins against Sergey Kovalev, though largely respected, was criticised for the manner in which he oversaw the fight between Terence Crawford and Angel Rios in 2011.

Anthony Joshua's professional wins in pictures: Is Wladimir Klitschko next?

Reports from that contest suggested that Fields "allowed Crawford to hold Rios behind the head and hit him behind the head with rarely a warning," according

Retired Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez, however, believes that Fields is "a very strong" choice for the third man in the ring.

"He's a big guy, a very strong referee and there should be no problems with him at all," Cortez told Telegraph Sport. "He's very experienced, and has always done a great job. He's a great choice."

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Meanwhile, Joshua's coach Robert McCracken believes the meeting between the young Briton and veteran Ukrainian will be a 'fascinating' duel, one that can propel the former Olympic heavyweight champion into a new stratosphere, on in which the Watford-born boxer can carve out a place for himself in the history of the sport.

In an exclusive interview with Telegraph Sport, McCracken said: “It’s a huge, huge challenge fighting Wladimir Klitschko. He’s a great fighter. But Anthony is relishing it as the reigning champion. This is what prizefighting and pro boxing is all about.

"And if Anthony gets through this huge obstacle, he will create a new era of the dominant heavyweight. But it’s heavyweight boxing. And nothing is easy.”

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