Anthony Joshua has defeated fellow heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, on points.
Joshua has retained his IBF and WBA world titles as well as claiming Parker’s WBO belt, in what was undoubtedly 2018’s biggest boxing event, so far.
The fight between Joshua, MBE and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker was the first heavyweight unification bout held on British soil and was Parker’s first professional defeat.
The official cards of 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 were wider than most fans’ unofficial score cards, but Joshua was ultimately declared victorious .
Joshua improves to 21-0 on the night his knockout streak ends at 20.
Speaking prior to the highly-anticipated fight, promoter Eddie Hearn said:
This is a history making fight – a breathtaking heavyweight unification between two young, fearless, undefeated Champions and through this partnership [DAZN], we are delighted more boxing fans in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Canada will be able to witness this special night.
At 10.30pm on Saturday night, the attention of the sporting world will be focused on Principality Stadium as these two unbeaten giants put it all on the line – British boxing has never been in better shape and we’re proud to yet again make history with AJ.
The Heavyweight unification blockbuster clash between Joshua and Parker was broadcast to an incredible 215 territories on Saturday night, March 31.
The boxing pair lay three belts on the line for the historic night in the Welsh capital and the clash of the unbeaten heavyweights, Joshua and Parker, grabbed the attention of the world’s boxing fans.
Joshua’s two-inch height advantage and roughly six-inch reach advantage, as we’ve seen many times before, was just too much for Parker to contend with.
However, following Joshua’s victory – at the same stadium where he previously defended his titles against Carlos Takam – fans are already calling out his next opponent.
The fight most boxing fans want to see next for Joshua is a bout for all four belts against WBC champion, American Deontay Wilder and following his win, AJ called him out, exclaiming:
Let’s go baby!
However, he did say he’d be happy to face either Wilder or Tyson fury.
Talks between Wilder and their promoters had already been intense prior to tonight’s fight, but now, it seems there’s only one choice of opponent for Britain’s best-loved boxer.
Interestingly, Wilder – who’s unbeaten in 40 fights – had refused an invitation to be ringside, a move which Hearn feels was a huge PR mistake on the American’s part.
Hearn labelled Wilder a ‘cry baby’, as talks for him to attend the event broke down, when the Alabama fighter was told he could not get into the ring to lay down a challenge to Joshua, should he win.
Wilder was due to appear ringside in Cardiff, working as an analyst for Sky Sports over the weekend, but changed his mind, telling Thaboxingvoice podcast:
When I got hired with Sky Sports, I told them I would come and be a part of the party under one circumstance: If Joshua wins, I will get in the ring with him, look him in his eyes, face to face, and tell him I wanna knock him out.
They told me that wouldn’t be a problem. A few days later I get a phone call with my manager telling me I won’t be able to do that.
Joshua’s been talking that he doesn’t want me in the ring, talking about having extra security. I even heard something about a restraining order!
However, others feel Wilder didn’t want to be present and face questions about why he doesn’t take on Dillian Whyte – another Hearn fighter – after the Brit’s impressive win over Lucas Browne last week.
There were a few who thought it was all a stunt and Wilder would in fact turn up to stir a bit of a frenzy.
Despite the loss for Parker, it was the first time he competed in front of more than 10,000 fans on any one night as a professional and his payday – which is thought to be around the £7m mark – will dwarf anything he’s earned before.
Before the fight, the New Zealander told BBC Sport:
There are no excuses from my side. I’m 100 per cent ready. No injury, no niggles, I back myself to be the best in the world, there’s no need to be flinching.
Congratulations to Anthony Joshua!
I guess it’s all about getting a hold of that all-important fourth belt now! Roll on the fight with Wilder!