Joshua’s Win over Parker Sets Up Potential Mega Fight with Wilder

Joshua’s Win over Parker Sets Up Potential Mega Fight with Wilder

Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s victory over Joseph Parker on Saturday has set up a potential unification bout with undefeated Deontay Wilder.

Updated: April 1, 2018 • 4:55 PM ET

Anthony Joshua added another championship belt to his collection on Saturday.

Anthony Joshua became the new WBO heavyweight champion after defeating unbeaten Joseph Parker by unanimous decision in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday. Joshua is now the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion, leaving a potential matchup with American WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder as his next fight.

 

Saturday’s fight started with both Joshua and Parker landing clean punches in the opening round, as the feeling out process brought a mix of tension. Parker made it clear he wanted to use his speed and get inside on Joshua, forcing the Brit into a brawl, but referee Giuseppe Quartarone made it clear he wasn’t going to let that happen. Parker looked effective when getting inside Joshua’s lead foot, but he was cut off within seconds of making the transition.

 

Joshua’s jab was his biggest weapon, as his six-inch reach advantage allowed him to out-jab Parker 93-49, despite throwing 46 fewer jabs than the Aucklander. Joshua also landed more body shots than Parker, 46-40, which ultimately led to Parker spending the majority of the fight on his back foot.

 

Joshua, 21-0 with 20 KOs, has proven that his ability as a great boxer who can go 12 rounds is as good as his knockout ability. Parker is the first fighter to push Joshua the distance, and he and his team were gracious in defeat. 

 

“We fought good,” Parker said in his post-fight press conference. “He’s just the better man on the day, he deserved to win. Disappointed, but we’ll be back. You just gotta take it on the chin.”

 

Parker was also asked about the controversy surrounding the referee, but he declined to make excuses.

 

“We’re not blaming the ref, but when we got on the inside and tried to work, he…,” Parker said while motioning a separation. “I wanted to work him inside more.”

 

The fight was closer than the final scorecard suggested (119-109, 118-110 twice) and has raised questions at the wrong time. The result should have been a celebration of the emerging talent in the heavyweight division. Instead, the fight was overshadowed by questionable refereeing and the final scorecard.

 

After the fight, Joshua called out Wilder and former champion Tyson Fury. The champ was asked what he would have to do to beat Wilder, who is 40-0 with 39 KOs and has defended his title seven times.

 

“Get him in the ring, and I’ll knock him spark out,” Joshua responded before walking off.

 

It’s clear that unification of the heavyweight division is necessary. There can be no more excuses — it’s what the division and boxing needs to make people forget about the constant controversy surrounding title fights. It’s the same controversy that arose with the result of the Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez fight for the lineal middleweight championship in September.

 

It would be interesting to see where a fight between Joshua and Wilder would take place, as Joshua has never fought outside the comfort of the United Kingdom. The interest generated in Joshua traveling to the United States to take on Wilder would be significant. The same goes for Wilder traveling to the UK, but it’s time to see Joshua prove himself outside of his comfort zone.

 

Let the anticipation begin for one of the biggest heavyweight fights in history.

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