It was the first time two reigning, unbeaten heavyweight champions had contested a world title unification on British soil and also the first time Anthony Joshua had been taken the distance for in his career. However, Joshua put in a composed performance to earn a points victory over Joseph Parker in the unification clash in Cardiff.
The British heavyweight star has added the WBO belt to his IBF and WBA ‘super’ titles as he produced a disciplined display against the rugged Parker to earn a wide unanimous decision with scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109. Joshua is only one belt away from being the undisputed boxing champion of the world.
The fight lasted 12 rounds with Joshua throwing in whenever Parker stands still, and displayed complete control of the fight. Parker had small successes, such as a left hook in the last round, but there wasn’t enough of them.
The fight ends with Joshua holding Parker’s head and landing a right uppercut inside, perhaps his best shot of the fight.
Joshua said in the ring: “I was always going to stick behind the jab, one of the most important weapons in boxing, and kept the right hand up. This is boxing. It’s what we do. Forget the hype. Joseph Parker is a good world champion. As I said before, this would be about boxing. The main thing now is I am the unified heavyweight champion of the world.”
And as for Wilder? “Let’s go baby, let’s go!” Joshua said. “And we’ll do it in London.” There is a rematch clause, which will have to be firmed up if Parker is to get his wish to “have another go”.