Joshua Beats Parker, Adds Third Title
ANTHONY JOSHUA added the WBO heavyweight title to his WBA and IBF straps by beating Joseph Parker by unanimous points decision in Cardiff.
For the first time in his professional career, Joshua was taken to the judges’ scorecards and in truth 118-110, 118-110, 119-109 looked a little kindly on his performance.
And it was unlikely to send a strong message across the Atlantic to Deontay Wilder. But if his boxing didn’t, his voice most certainly did.
“Just like Dillian said: Wilder let’s go baby. Let’s go!” Joshua told the 78,000 people in the Principality Stadium.
Joshua fighting has become a global event, and that was no clearer than when four separate flags could be seen around the ring. Joshua flew his green-and-white Nigerian colours as well as those of the United Kingdom while Parker had both the New Zealand flag and the Samoan one.
Both men are fiercely proud of their familial heritage as well as the countries of their birth: Joshua bears a tattoo of Africa on his right shoulder while Parker was led out by his two uncles in traditional Samoan dress.
That the Welsh crowd seemed to tolerate, but the two national anthems wore on the patience of a crowd who had been riled up by a spectacular knockout of David Price, who himself had knocked down Alexander Povetkin before the WBA’s No 1 challenger showed his true class in the fifth round.
But once the anthems had finally ended, there were just three men in the ring and it was a predictably cagey start with Joshua looking the work the body and Parker trying to stay out of trouble.
When the Kiwi did get trapped on the ropes, Joshua looked to let fly with combinations while Parker’s escape route was to charge at him. It appeared effective although he was caught by some first upper-cuts in the third round while trying to get out of the neutral corner.
Joshua repeatedly looked to his favoured overhand right in the opening rounds for the big shots, especially as a counter-punch, but Parker’s speed was evident in his evasion.