This afternoon’s (Sat., Mar. 31, 2018) clash between undefeated heavyweight champions turned out to be a bit of a dud, as Anthony Joshua made his first trip to the judges against Joseph Parker in a fight marred by a referee unwilling to let the two work on the inside.
The fight was a bit of a bell curve in terms of entertainment. Joshua (21-0, 20 KO) worked behind a heavy jab to take the first few rounds, while Parker (24-1, 18 KO), despite a marked advantage in hand speed, seemed content to trade snappy jabs without letting his right hand go.
Parker appeared to flip a switch in the fifth, going after Joshua with considerably more abandon and finding the mark with solid body shots. Joshua seemed less effective off the back foot, but landed a hard combination in the eighth that enervated Parker once more, allowing “AJ” to once again march forward and cruise behind his superior power.
The remaining rounds weren’t much to speak of, as the only notable features were Joshua’s tape constantly coming loose and referee Giuseppe Quartarone breaking the two up any time they got even remotely close to each other. The judges ultimately gave Joshua the win on scores of 118-110 (twice) and 119-109. MMAmania had it 116-112 Joshua, while Bad Left Hook had it 115-113.
It was honestly a bit jarring to see Parker get so passive even when it became clear that aggression and pressure were working for him. He’s obviously talented, but his lack of killer instinct and hesitance to use his gifts mean it’ll be a while before he can get a strap around his waist again.
Joshua’s current top contenders are Alexander Povetkin, who starched David Price earlier in the day, and the winner of a planned bout between Kubrat Pulev and Dominic Breazeale. Ideally, however, he’ll take on WBC champ Deontay Wilder sometime this year.
For quick results and round-by-round coverage of the fight, click here.