The much-awaited heavyweight clash between the two undefeated heavyweight champions gave the expected result. Anthony Joshua (21M, 21W, 20KO) defeated Joseph Parker (25M, 24W, 1L), banking on his height and reach advantage as this clash of titans was without many fireworks.
Parker did a commendable job as he did not allow Joshua to knock him out; he showed fine head movement and mobility and Joshua could not do much apart from landing jabs. The Englishman was very cautious throughout the fight which proves that he took Parker very seriously.
It was because of Joshua's reach advantage over Parker that he landed more jabs and at the same time Parker struggled to connect like AJ. The match lacked fireworks because of referee Giuseppe Quartarone, who did not let both fighters trade many punches on the inside.
Excluding rounds 5, 7 and 9, Parker struggled to connect punches. There were many close rounds but Joshua had an edge over his opponent.
Most boxing fans and pundits predicted that Joshua would emerge victoriously but very few would have anticipated that the fight would go the distance. In the end, Parker managed to take away Joshua's perfect knockout record but lost his WBO heavyweight title to the Briton, making Joshua the unified heavyweight champion of the world.
In this fight, Anthony Joshua showed that he can switch his tactics according to his opponent. Throughout the fight, he did not seem out of breath, which he clearly showed in his previous two fights against Wladimir Klitschko and Carlos Takam. This was the first time Joshua relied more on his boxing IQ than his predatory approach, to get the job done.
Parker should also be given the credit for not giving the bigger, stronger guy much of a chance to land a clean straight right hand on his chin; he maintained his reputation as a durable fighter as he was never in any serious trouble.
Now, Deontay Wilder's WBC belt is the last one in sight for Joshua to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
An even a bigger test lies ahead of him against Wilder. The boxing world now looks forward to Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder, which could create incredible hype, much like Muhammad Ali Vs George Foreman's Rumble In The Jungle.Published 01 Apr 2018, 11:05 IST