Hearn not upset with Joshua-Parker referee
By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says he has no problem with the performance from the referee hat worked the AJ vs. Joseph Parker fight last Saturday night at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Hearn says that Parker was just holding on the inside, and that the referee Giuseppe Quartarone didn’t change the outcome of the fight at all.
Many boxing fans disagree with Hearn. They felt the referee was stopping the action when Parker was giving Joshua grief on the inside, and that he forced the fight to be conducted on the outside with the way he frequently intervened. Parker was forced to fight at a distance because of the referee breaking up the action when he was throwing punches on the inside. Referees are supposed to let fighters work on the inside, but this was not letting that happen for whatever reason.
“I wasn’t really upset [at the referee] because Parker was happy to hold and Joshua wasn’t doing loads of work on the inside,” Hearn said to Behind The Gloves in saying he wasn’t bothered with the referee preventing inside fighting in the Joshua vs. Parker fight. ”I don’t think it would have made one difference.”
This wasn’t an even playing field for Parker, because the referee was splitting him up from Joshua the entire fight. Parker never had a chance to win because his game was effectively controlled by the referee, who may not have realized that he was ruining the only chance Parker had of winning the fight. Parker couldn’t land his shots from the outside because he was giving away 6 inches in reach to Joshua. So then when Parker would try and get close to land his shots, the referee was stepping in and splitting them up. It doesn’t seem to bother Hearn, but his fighter Joshua was the one that benefitted, so of course it doesn’t bother him.
It sounds like Hearn watched a different fight than the ones the boxing fans saw. Parker wasn’t trying to hold on the inside. Joshua was the one holding. Parker was throwing shots and trying to work. Joshua was pulling down on Parker’s head and trying to hit him with uppercuts. Throwing uppercuts is fine, but when you pull your opponent’s head down to line him up for an uppercut, then that’s not allowed in the sport. Hearn says it wouldn’t have made a difference if the referee didn’t change the outcome of the fight with the way he was keeping Parker from working inside, but he was no way of knowing that.
Hearn is guessing that the outcome wouldn’t have been different. If Joshua was prevented from throwing jabs from the outside all night long, would he have still won the fight? I don’t think he would have, because he couldn’t land his power shots. If there was a referee that prevented Joshua from fighting on the outside, he would have been handicapped just as bad as Parker was.
Hearn would have a major issue if the referee had stopped Joshua from using the only thing that could work for him last night, which was him throwing jabs on the outside. Of course, it doesn’t bother Hearn that the referee stopped Parker from fighting in close, because it helped Joshua out immensely. But if the shoe was on the other foot and Joshua was the one being prevented from throwing his shots, I think he would have been very upset and screaming bloody murder, especially if he lost the fight. Hearn would be hopping mad about it. But it’s no skin off Hearn’s teeth that the referee was peeling Parker off Joshua when he was trying to fight on the inside, because it helped his fighter.
It’s not all that surprising that Hearn wouldn’t be upset with the referee; because his fighter Joshua was helped by the way he foiled Parker’s attempts at fighting in close by breaking him apart. There was seemingly no reason for the referee to break them apart, but he did it anyway.
”Maybe the referee broke a little early at times, but Parker would always have his arm locked around Anthony Joshua holding,” Hearn said. So, if you’re not going to work on the inside, you need to break the action. So, it actually didn’t affect the fight. They couldn’t have fought on the inside, because Parker was holding, and Joshua was holding when Parker was leading with his head to hold him. Other than when he was trying to do that, he nearly took his head off,” Hearn said.
I don’t buy what Hearn is saying about the referee not influencing the outcome of the fight Joshua-Parker. He had a HUGE effect on the fight. When a referee prevents a fighter from fighting on the inside, they have a MAJOR effect, particularly when that fighter is ineffective on the outside the way Parker was. Parker didn’t have the arm length to land his shots when he was on the outside. He was only able to land his punches when he was in close, but he couldn’t throw more than a handful of shots before the referee would step in and peel him off Joshua while he was still throwing punches.
It looked very, very odd the referee did that. I’m not sure what was going through the referee’s mind when he was breaking the action. If it was non-action, then of course, the referee is supposed to break the fighters apart. But when one fighter is throwing punches on the inside, the referee is supposed to stand back and watch and not interrupt the action.
Joshua’s win was cheapened by the way the referee was intervening all night long when he was getting nailed in close. It wasn’t the best way for Joshua to win the fight, because the victory was overshadowed by the referee decision stop the fighting on the inside. Joshua didn’t beat Parker tonight. I think the referee beat him. Joshua was able to take advantage of his opponent’s offense being neutralized by the referee. At the end of the fight, there was no real winner because Joshua hadn’t beat Parker. The referee had. It was sad to watch a fight being taken over by a referee, who seemed unclear on the rules of the sport. I don’t think it was personal with the referee. I just think he didn’t have a clue that inside fighting is allowed in boxing.
”I do agree with people’s comments that he broke it a little early at times, but I don’t think it would have made any difference,” Hearn said.
Hearn has no idea what he’s talking about when he says it didn’t make a difference that the referee was preventing Parker from fighting on the inside. It made a significant difference, and Joshua ended up looking bad because it gave the appearance in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans that he was being protected from Parker.
“Our team signed off on the referee. Would we sign off with them again? No,” Parker’s promoter David Higgins said at the post-fight press conference. ”I’m certain he’ll fight Anthony Joshua again.”
It’s possible that other promoters are going to be careful in the future when it comes to this referee. If they have a fighter that works on the inside the way Parker does, I think they’re going to think twice before they give the green light to letting this referee work their fights. He might be in demand for fighters that work strictly on the outside and need to have the action broken up when fighting someone that has inside fighting skills.