Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker
At the Principality stadium in Cardiff, Wales, a major, very significant fight takes place, a unification fight between two undefeated heavyweight world champions.
Home fighter, WBA and IBF heavyweight world champion, Anthony Joshua, is the favourite, whilst away fighter, New Zealand's Joseph Parker, the WBO heavyweight world champion, is very much the underdog.
Joshua is considered the favourite, and the A-side by most, as the bigger fighter, the fighter with more belts, the outstanding win over Wladimir Klitschko, and the more dominant fighter in his career so far, but Parker, though not with a great reputation, is talked up by those in the boxing world who know him, and some, Bob Arum, Stitch Duran, predict him to cause the upset, and if nothing else, is another undefeated heavyweight world champion in his own right.
Both Joshua and Parker weigh in at lighter weights than expected, Joshua, 12 lbs lighter than in his previous fight, Parker, 11 lbs lighter than at his heaviest.
Joshua is patient, and on the front foot, while Parker is mobile.
Joshua starts to settle down in round 3, backs Parker up with some hard jabs, makes Parker fall short with his jab, and begins to pick him off. Round 4 is a similar pattern, both fighters throw the jab, Joshua lands his with some accuracy, Parker is unable to find a home for his jabs. Joshua begins to follow his jabs up with the right hand.
Joshua begins round 5 with a couple of great jabs, Parker, still defensively good, is made to work hard as the round progresses, but is aggressive, and confident, he pressures Joshua. Later in the round, Joshua lands the jab, but Parker lands a great right hand flush on the jaw of Joshua behind a throw away jab, and Parker lands another right hand before the round closes out, not hurting Joshua, but having success. Round 6 starts at a more aggressive tempo, but the ref doesn't want the fighters to exchange. Parker makes a great start to the round as he lands a clean overhand right which finds the target, and makes Joshua miss. Both fighters land power shots, Joshua tries to get back behind the jab, but is less accurate than earlier. Parker seems capable of outboxing Joshua, as late in the sixth, Joshua is made very inaccurate, and Parker lands a few good power shots.
Both fighters try to counter at the start of round 7, the referee, not for the first time, frustrates people by unnecessarily breaking them up. Midway through the round, Joshua smacks Parker with a clean jab, but Parker chops away at the body as he works well in the clinch. The referee breaks the two fighters up despite clean fighting, several times. They up their aggression late in the round, Joshua lands heavier, Parker lands more. Joshua seems to get the better start to round 8. The referee splits the two fighters up often, frustrating everyone, his interfering seems to anger both teams. The ref seems to miss the tape on Joshua's glove unravelling. In a competitive round, Parker is still mobile and aggressive, but it is Joshua who lands the clean punches.
Parker's higher output seems to help him get the best of inside exchanges as the fighters trade shots early in round 9. Parker throws clusters of punches at Joshua, and lands a few, overall, he outlands Joshua. Joshua is still the aggressor late in 9, and lands with the better quality punches, he catches the eye, tags Parker clean a couple of times. Joshua seems the technically superior fighter in round 10, Parker still makes it a rough fight, moves, makes Joshua need to use his patience, but it is Joshua's jab which dictates the round, and is the most successful weapon on either side, as some of Parker's attacks are stifled.
Parker tries to increase his aggresion and work rate in round 11, but the clinches are scrappy, and when the pace is dropped, Joshua is able to point score with the jab. Joshua lands a clean right uppercut midway through the round, a great shot which Parker takes well. Parker is mobile and focused im round 12, but Joshua backs him up with the jab, dictates with it, he also finds more success in sweeping power shots around Parker's guard. Parker is still competitive, and still active, but can't find any accuracy. Joshua is the aggressor in the closing stages of the fight, as he lands a few solid jabs before the final bell.
The general concensus is that Anthony Joshua has won the fight, Joseph Parker and his team don't seem to think they've won, almost all if not all opinions amongst broadcasters and scoring fans, are that Joshua has won, some think it is close, some think it is quite a wide margin, and a comfortable win, but the verdict seems predictable.
Michael Buffer reveals that all three judges score Joshua a winner by very wide margins, two, by 8 points, the other by 10, almost all unofficial scorers think the scores are too wide, but nonetheless, Joshua wins by landslide margins, wins the fight via UD, goes 12 rounds for the first time in his career, defends his titles, and wins a new title, also.
Joseph Parker makes no excuses, is confident of bouncing back from defeat, he gives Joshua a lot of credit, and is gracious in defeat.
Anthony Joshua seems happy with his win and his performance. 'AJ' states that he is proud of what he is doing for British boxing, he also tells the public, "positive energy doesn't just stay in the arena, take that positive energy with you", Joshua uses the word, 'unity', and says "there is power in the people, god bless".
When asked about WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder, Joshua responds, "I'll get him in the ring, and I'll knock him spark out!".
Unofficial scorecards outside of Eye on the ring
SkySports - 118-111 Joshua