By John J. Raspanti
In a highly anticipated heavyweight fight between two undefeated champions, WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua added the WBO title to his collection by winning a lackluster 12 round unanimous decision over Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales Saturday night.
Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) called out WBC champion Deontay Wilder after his victory. Wilder was probably asleep.
The scores were 119-110 (twice) and 118-110. Maxboxing saw a closer fight—scoring 116-112 for Joshua.
Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) used his jab effectively in the opening rounds. The six-foot-six inch Joshua stalked Parker. He also stuck out his jab. Parker moved to his left and right, trying to keep Joshua guessing. He went to the body, but so did Joshua. Parker found the range with his left, but his follow-up punches were short.
Joshua connected with left to the face. Parker fought back a little, but not very much. Joshua came out with a bit more fire in rounds five and six. Parker was content to snap off jabs. This strategy was good at keeping Joshua off balance but wasn’t going to win him the fight.
At one point during round six, a fight broke out. But shockingly referee Giuseppe Quartarone jumped in and stopped the action. He warned both fighters for what? Throwing punches?
Parker did pretty well in round seven. He clipped Joshua with a few hooks, but the big man didn’t blink. Rounds eight and in were more of the same.
Joshua inched forward while Parker stayed on his back foot. Joshua found something of a rhythm in the last three rounds. He popped Parker with jabs and right crosses. Parker would occasionally wind-up and left fly with hooks and crosses, but nothing of significance landed.
The bout ended with the referee stopping the action. I’m not sure anyone noticed.
Apparently fighting on the inside was not to be allowed on this night.
“Joseph Parker is a world champion,” said Joshua. “I knew he would be determined.”
Yes he was, but being determined isn’t enough when fighting on the road.