Anthony Joshua’s ring generalship plays key role in defeating Joseph Parker
On Saturday, Anthony Joshua added the WBO heavyweight title to his IBF and WBA belts with a wide unanimous decision over Joseph Parker, at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Much like Joshua’s win over Carlos Takam, last October, this victory will be regarded as steady without being spectacular. The event, if not the fight, will live long in the memory.
THE RING Magazine-ranked No. 1 heavyweight never stepped on the gas, particularly later in the fight, and instead coasted to a decision win.
Joshua (21-0, 20 knockouts) was calculating and controlled throughout. He was the aggressor, for the most part, moving forward behind his measured jab. His ring generalship was pivotal to victory.
Pre-fight, most experts were in agreement that Joshua’s greater experience, size and power would see him home. However there was a caveat that Parker (24-1, 19 KOs) was a live underdog. In RingTV’s Fight Picks poll, 23 of the 24 experts sided with the 28-year-old Brit.
The scorecards were a little more lopsided than appeared true, 118-110 twice and 119-109. However there can be no doubt the right man won. Parker seemed reluctant to really go after Joshua; instead he implied cagey movement to try to offset the home favorite and while he had his successes, they were few and far between.
Ultimately Parker became the sixth fighter whose unbeaten record Joshua has taken.
Much of the chatter on Twitter and ringside during the lackluster fight centered on referee Giuseppe Quartarone, who was overly officious throughout and broke the fighters when they were up close all too often, rending Parker’s work to get inside moot.
The Italian is a regular on the European scene but he looked out of his depth in this arena. It was his first world title fight, since Juergen Braehmer-Enzo Maccarinelli, four years ago. It might take that long for his phone to ring with this type of assignment again.
Not unlike last October, the atmosphere was crackling with chants of, “Ohh Anthony Joshua!”‘ through out the evening. A big stadium fight is a must for all boxing fans; there’s nothing like it. In the U.K., fans come for the entire Anthony Joshua experience.
Joshua is now very much an arena fighter. He’s fought three times in the past year and generated 246,000 spectators, an incredible figure.
Frankly had this fight taken place in front of a less-forgiving Las Vegas crowd, the cat calls would have been heard by the midway stage of the bout.
Joshua was asked afterward by Sky Sports about the possibility of going to America. He said he’s more than happy to stay in the U.K. because when his fights are as well-attended, he has no reason to take his show on the road.
American fight fans are curious to see the juggernaut ply his trade on their side of the Atlantic but that may not happen next. It will be interesting to see what Joshua’s promoter, Matchroom Boxing Group Managing Director Eddie Hearn does going forward.
Talk is obviously going to be of a Joshua vs. WBC beltholder Deontay Wilder meeting for all the marbles; however, interestingly, it seems that, in America, they believe Joshua wants no part of Wilder and in Britain, Wilder has no interest in facing Joshua.
The truth is likely that both men would like nothing more but their respective teams are jockeying for the best deal for each man. As such, ego may see this fight sit for longer than is necessary. The fight is hot now; it’s “marinated” enough.
Joshua seems less than bothered with going to America and, with the numbers he does at home, that’s his prerogative. For his part, Wilder obviously wants to fight in America.
The third wheel in this conversation is Tyson Fury, the former lineal and THE RING champion, who is primed to return from his self-imposed exile this summer. The travelling man, however, likely needs two or three fights to work off the ring rust before such a showdown.
Wherever and whomever Joshua fights comprise a true event and will continue to for the foreseeable future.
You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.