In the post-fight press conference following his loss to Anthony Joshua over the weekend, Joseph Parker was asked for his thoughts on the referee constantly forcing a break whenever he got on the inside with Joshua. Here’s what he had to say...
“When the ref came to the back [before the fight], he couldn’t really speak English. And [my trainer] was trying to talk to him and sort of ask him questions about how he’s gonna control the fight...We’re not blaming the ref but when we got on the inside and tried to work, you know, he [broke us up]. But Kev can answer that...I wanted to work on the inside more.
On if that worked to his disadvantage:
“I guess as far as the inside I could’ve worked more and I could’ve thrown a bit more punches but the ref did his job and...[shrugs].
Kevin Barry (Parker’s trainer) on his take on that situation:
“Well look, obviously when one guy’s got a the 76-inch reach and the other guy’s got the 84 or 85, it’s very important for us, when we do close the distance, that we’re able to work. And um...unfortunately for us the referee just — he didn’t allow us to do that and I tried to speak to him when he came out the back and he had no idea or understanding of the question I asked him. ‘Cause the language. I knew he was from Italy but I obviously expected we’d have a guy that would actually be able to communicate with both the two participants fighting.
“And when I found out I actually said to the BBoC beforehand, I said ‘Well this is gonna be great, how am I going to be able to communicate with the referee? The guy in charge of the fight.’ He said ‘Ah he’s a very good referee!’ I said ‘Ok.’
“I think today we were beaten by a better, bigger man...I was quite impressed with some of the things [Joshua] did. I thought he held his hands a lot better than he has in other fights, um, he was quite hard to hit.”
Credit to both Parker and his trainer for not trying to make the referee the scapegoat for their loss. Joshua legitimately deserved to win this unification fight. With that being said, the fight was quite poorly officiated to the point where it clearly favored the hometown fighter. That may have not made the difference in and of itself, but it sure stacked the deck against Parker.