Anthony Joshua unified the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles as a controlled performance saw him earn a unanimous points win over Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. The Briton used his left hand to telling effect throughout an intriguing affair, in which New Zealand’s Parker displayed swift hands, movement and impressive durability. But his WBO title always looked like it would end up round Joshua’s waist as a significant points gap opened up, with the favourite landing a hard left uppercut in round eight and two stinging left hooks early in the 10th.
Parker tagged his rival to howls of concern in the 11th and he deserves immense respect for becoming the first man to take Joshua to the scorecards, which read 118-110 118-110 119-109. Joshua raised his right hand on ring announcer Michael Buffer’s reading of the cards and he now holds three of the four recognised world titles. Parker looked to the sky.
But the New Zealander played his part in a compelling evening and brought colour to an intriguing build-up. Never before had two world champions from the glamour division met to unify titles on British soil. For the away fighter this was a whole new level of scrutiny; for Joshua, it was a third consecutive stadium fight, with a cumulative 250,000 seats sold in the process.
The beaten man admitted he lost to a “better champion” but he at least showed the “granite chin” his camp had built much of their hope on beforehand. Unlike Joshua, Parker has never been dropped as an amateur or a professional and he showed his durability in sucking up two hard left hooks early in the 10th.
“I’m not going to make any analysis of my performance, that’s for my coach to do.
“My strategy was to stick behind the jab – it’s one of the most important weapons – a good jab will take you around the world. I was switched on, focused and went 12 rounds. It was light work. [Whether it’s] ten rounds, two rounds or 12 rounds.
“IBO, WBO, WBA, IBF. I’m not into the hype, let’s get the business done. Let’s see what the future holds, I’m down for whatever, whenever.”
“Wilder let’s go baby, let’s go!”
“I’m not interested in coming to America. All these years, we’ve gone to the States, people have spent a lot of money following British boxers over there. [But] we can do it in London, Cardiff. We are staying right here.
“I want Wilder. Or Fury. Get him [Wilder] in the ring and I’ll knock him spark out,” he told Sky Sports.