Anthony Joshua outpoints Joseph Parker to grab third heavyweight belt in dreary bout
Anthony Joshua added a third heavyweight title to his ever-growing collection, but the performance did nothing to bolster his stock.
THE RING’s No. 1 heavyweight went the 12-round distance for the first time and scored a unanimous decision over Joseph Parker on Saturday before 78,000-plus at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. The fight, which was televised on Showtime in the U.S., was a dreary affair, with neither big man willing to take chances. There were no dramatic moments and neither fighter was ever in any danger.
Two judges scored it 118-110 and the third turned in a card that read 119-109. With the victory, Joshua, who already held the WBA and IBF titles, picked up Parker’s WBO belt and also handed the New Zealand native his first professional loss.
“My strategy in there was stick behind the jab, it’s one of the most important weapons,” said Joshua, who improved to 21-0 with 20 knockouts. “As the saying goes, a good right hand can take you around the block, but a good jab can take you around the world.
” … And 12 rounds, baby, I thought it was hard, right? Light work. It’s light. Forget the hype, Joseph Parker is a world champion so I knew he would be determined. I knew this would be a boxing match, not a fight. Joseph Parker stated this would be a war, I said it would be boxing finesse, and I stuck to my word.”
The fighters were met by a smattering of boos as the final bell rang after 12 uneventful, tactical rounds. The bout was marred by highly intrusive officiating from Giuseppe Quartarone, who time and again unnecessarily inserted himself into the action.
Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) was able to frustrate Joshua with his educated jab and movement, but the kiwi never landed any telling, damaging blows. And while the fight appeared to be closer than the official scorecards, Parker didn’t establish himself in any of those frames.
Simply put, it seemed Parker, 26, wasn’t willing to pay the price to work his way on the inside against the bigger, taller man.
“I got beat by a better champion, better man,” admitted Parker, THE RING’s No. 3 heavyweight. ” … I’m going to go back, train hard and come back stronger. No regrets, take it on the chin, we’ll be back again.”
Parker admits he should have “worked on the inside more” and thrown more punches. When the openings were there, he didn’t take advantage, although Joshua was far from dominant.
The 28-year-old Brit had knocked out all 20 foes he’d faced prior to this night, but Parker was never in any remote danger. Joshua attempted to drive the right uppercut when they met on the inside, but the punch didn’t find its mark.
Now, talk will once again turn to the biggest fight that can be made in boxing: Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder. And it’s an even more significant fight now that Joshua owns not two but three heavyweight belts.
Wilder, of course, owns the fourth title, and the victor would become the first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era and the first one of any kind since Lennox Lewis reigned supreme in the early 2000s.
“Wilder, let’s go baby, let’s go,” Joshua screamed. “What do I have to do to beat Wilder? Get him in the ring and knock him spark out.”
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger