Joshua vs Parker scoring and takeawaysWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Tonight, WBA/IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KO) defeated Joseph Parker to claim the latter's WBO belt.
The win was AJ's first without a knockout and the fight severed as Parker's first defeat.
Two judges scored it 118-110 and the third 119-109. Showtime's Steve Farhood unofficial card, the more accurate tally, read 117-112 Joshua.
FightSaga had it even after seven rounds.
Parker started well, using his jab, speed and overall herky-jerky movement to limit AJ's offense; But as the rounds wore on, Joshua began finding the target while the Kiwi's outout slowed.
The fight was much closer than the cards indicated. Hence, the scorecards were surprising in some ways and not surprising in others.
As Showtime analyst Paulie Malignaggi stated several times during the broadcast, "It's hard to win fighting on your back foot on the road."
... But there's more to it than simply being on the road.
The uncomfortable truth is the A-side fighter and perceived superstar enters the bout with a small scoring advantage - and boxing history supports this.
Louis vs Walcott I, Canelo vs Lara, Canelo vs Trout, Foreman vs Stewart, Holmes vs Williams, Garcia vs Herrera, Rios vs Abril, Toney vs Tiberi, De La Hoya vs Sturm, Ali vs Norton III, Duran vs Barkley, Canelo vs Golovkin, and Mayweather vs Castillo I.
Like Canelo Alvarez against Gennady Golovkin in September, Joshua was awarded rounds that were anywhere near close. And that's not surprising given Joshua was the strong A-side fighting at home.
Coming in, if Parker's game plan was to box his way to a decision verdict, the onus was on him to not only pile up points, but decisively separate himself from Joshua; Something he clearly didn't do.
- As usual, the 78,000 in attendance in Cardiff Wales provided an electric backdrop
- The fight was a technical affair casual fans would call 'boring.' Action-wise, it was nothing memorable
- Joshua won the fight was his jab but in the first half of the fight, it was Parker's jab that set the pace.
- Parker did a masterful job keeping AJ's activity rate in check, especially in the first half of the fight
- The Kiwi was also brilliant in defending the uppercut; Everytime AJ got close, he unleashed it. And just about everytime, he missed or the shot was blocked
- AJ unleashed few combinations
- Parker's activity rate tanked from Rounds 7-12 while Joshua's soared.
- The referee was inexperienced and too eager to separate the fighters in the few heated moments the bout had. Moreover, his long diatribes that followed fighter breaks were unnecessary.
- Many questioned AJ's ability to go the distance but he looked great going 12 rounds and could have fought at a strong pace for several more if he had to