For the first time in his career, Anthony Joshua had to go the 12-round distance today in Cardiff, Wales, where he outpointed Joseph Parker by wide scores to unify the WBA, IBF, and WBO world heavyweight titles.
Scores were 118-110, 118-110, and 120-108. BLH scored the fight 115-113 for Joshua, seeing it much closer than the official judges did, but with Joshua deserving the victory.
Joshua (21-0, 20 KO) had stopped 20 straight opponents to start his pro career, but the streak ended due to the solid defensive work of Parker (24-1, 18 KO), who nullified much of Joshua’s usual aggression and combination punching, utilizing an awkward style, a flicking jab, and some good head movement.
But Parker didn’t get a lot done offensively, either. The approach kept him in the fight and competitive, but it wasn’t enough to secure victory. He was consistently on the back foot, which surely didn’t look good to judges, particularly because, again, he wasn’t really using it to create any offense.
“The right hand can take you around the block, but a good jab will take you around the world,” Joshua said of going the distance. “12 rounds, baby! I thought it was hard, right? Light work. This is boxing, this is what we do. 10 rounds, two rounds, 12 rounds, you know.
“Forget the hype, Joseph Parker is a world champion. I knew he was going to be determined. Sometimes, this does become a boxing match, not a fight. This was about boxing finesse. Joseph Parker stated this would be a war, I stated this would be finesse.”
He added, “I am the unified heavyweight champion of the world,” which technically was true coming in. Asked about Deontay Wilder and going after the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world, he said, “21 professional fights. Six world championship fights. Does that know show you where I’m going? I’m about business. Let’s get the business done. I’ve got the time,” ending his thoughts with, “Wilder! Let’s go, baby! Let’s go!”
“I got beaten by a better champion, bigger man. It was a good experience being here. Thank you all for the opportunity to fight in this big stadium,” Parker said. “No regrets. Take it on the chin. We’ll be back again.”