Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker – Results
By Scott Gilfoid: IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 19 KOs) was forced to go the distance to defeat WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
The judges scored the fight 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109. Boxing News 24 scored it 116-112 in Joshua’s favor.
The fight was marred by the referee, who kept Parker from fighting on the inside. The referee was breaking the action each time the two fighters were on the inside. Even when the two were still throwing shots on the inside, the referee would stop the action and pull them apart. It worked in Joshua’s favor, as Parker was getting the better of the action.
Joshua hurt in the 6th round when Parker nailed him with a right hand counter. Parker then chased after Joshua and started to pound him against the ropes. The referee stepped in and stopped the action and gave Parker a lecture. For what, I’m not quite sure. It seemed like the referee was not willing to let Parker and Joshua fight in close. The timing of the referee breaking the action worked in Joshua’s favor, because he looked hurt.
Starting in round 8, Joshua began to use his jab more to control the action from the outside. It worked well for Joshua, as Parker looking passive and not attacking Joshua the way he needed to for him to win the fight. From rounds 8 through 12, Joshua mostly jabbed on the outside.
Joshua revealed a new wrinkle in his fighting style by sticking his left arm far out in front of him and backing up while under attack. It’s an old trick that Wladimir Klitschko used effectively throughout his career to prevent his shorter opponents from getting close to him. The tactic only works if an opponent isn’t willing to attack hard. When they go all out to press the attack, that’s when Wladimir would struggle. Just backing up and holding his arm out in front didn’t always work. Joshua was using that tactic all night long when Parker was going after him. It didn’t work well. What worked for Joshua was the referee pulling Parker off of him when he worked on the inside. The referee was just as much as important to Joshua’s win tonight as what he did on offense. Without the referee from stopping Parker from fighting on the inside, it would have been a different fight.
Parker stopped pressing the attack on Joshua after the 6th. Parker fought like he was just trying to survive rather than win the fight. I expected Parker to go after Joshua in the 11th and 12th to try and knock him out, because he was the visiting fighter to the UK and there was no way he was going to be given a decision. Instead of pushing for a knockout, Parker stayed on the outside and mostly used head movement to get out of the way of Joshua’s jabs and right hands.
Joshua was trying to hit Parker with uppercuts when the two of them were in close, but he missing most of the time. When Joshua would land an uppercut, it didn’t have the same effect as when he hurt Wladimir with one in the 10th round in their fight last year in April. Parker showed a better chin tonight than Wladimir
All in all, I can’t say I was impressed with what I saw from Joshua. He looked robotic, slow and vulnerable. The only hard right hand Parker threw in the fight had Joshua hurt and reeling in the 6th. Who knows what would have happened if there was a different referee working that would have allowed Parker to keep hitting Joshua with punches after he had him hurt in the 6th. That looked very strange the way the referee stopped Parker from hitting Joshua. Referees only break the action on the inside when neither fighter is throwing punches. In this case, the referee stopped Parker when he was throwing shots at Joshua in close. Why would he do that? That was very strange and very lucky for Joshua. The referee picked the fight for him to pull Parker off Joshua. I’m not sure who chose the referee, but it sure worked well for Joshua. The way the referee controlled the fight worked in Joshua’s favor.
In round 8, Joshua was fighting with loose take for the last minute. It was only at the very end of the round that the referee tried to do something about the tape. He should have done something earlier, because Joshua was hitting Parker with the tape when he was throwing his left hands.
With the win, Joshua now holds 3 of the 4 heavyweight world titles in the division. The only title not in Joshua’s possession is the World Boxing Council title held by Deontay Wilder. It’s unclear when Joshua will fight Wilder. It might not be in 2018, because Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants to match him against Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller in August, and then Alexander Povetkin for later this year. Wilder will likely be a fight Joshua will take in 2019.