Joshua beats Parker on unanimous points decision
CARDIFF (Reuters) - Britain’s Anthony Joshua beat New Zealander Joseph Parker on a unanimous points decision in their world heavyweight title unification bout on Saturday and warned American Deontay Wilder that he wanted him next.
Taken to 12 rounds for the first time in his professional career, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist added Parker’s WBO belt to his own WBA Super, IBF and IBO titles in front of a 78,000 crowd at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
The judges scored it 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 in his favour, leaving Joshua just one belt — Wilder’s WBC title — away from becoming the first undisputed champion since compatriot Lennox Lewis in 2000.
“Wilder let’s go baby, let’s go,” shouted the 28-year-old, who had won all 20 of his previous fights inside the distance, from ringside.
“IBO, WBO, WBA, IBF. I’m not into the hype, let’s get the business done. Let’s see what the future holds, I’m down for whatever, whenever.”
Wilder was not among those present, despite being invited by organisers, the undefeated champion opting to watch from afar instead.
Both fighters had stepped into the ring undefeated, with Joshua weighing in six pounds heavier than his shorter opponent and with a longer reach.
If some had expected an early knockout it did not pan out that way, even if Joshua could be said to have controlled most of the 12 rounds by using his jab and left hooks to telling effect.
Apart from an explosive sixth round, with both trading some stinging blows, neither looked likely to buckle with Parker showing more staying power than any of Joshua’s previous opponents.
The referee also intervened repeatedly, breaking up the fight just as it seemed to be heating up and calling a time out in the ninth with Joshua returning to his corner to tighten up his gloves.
“My strategy was to stick behind the jab and that secured me another world title belt,” said Joshua.
“I know the bookies say I might get a knockout but forget the hype, Parker was a world champion. This was a boxing match, not a fight. Parker said this would be war, I said this would be boxing finesse.”
The 26-year-old New Zealander, who had been led into the ring by Samoan chiefs under a barrage of strobe lights, was gracious in defeat.
“Today I got beaten by a better champion,” he said.
“I’m going to come back stronger. No regrets, just take it on the chin.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond/Peter Rutherford
Source: Reuters Sport