In defeating Joseph Parker on points at the Prinicipality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday night, Anthony Joshua answered one of the last remaining question marks around his game: he went the distance and came out the victor.
12 rounds, of which he claimed 10 of them according to two of the three judges looking on. Only during the middle point of the fight did Parker shake Joshua, but the scare was short-lived and in the end the Londoner made it look very easy against the man from New Zealand.
Almost immediately after the fight, as the dust was settling on this admittedly dull affair, Joshua had beckoned Deontay Wilder, the American WBC Heavyweight champion, to meet him in the ring to decide who is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Such a tussle is tantalising, but it remains unrealistic. Matchroom, Joshua’s promoters – aka the Hearn family – insist that Wilder’s camp have blocked any attempt to arrange a bout this year. Wilder is running scared, so says Eddie Hearn, a claim that Joshua seemed to back up on Saturday when he summoned Wilder.
The American, however, has bit back, claiming that it is the British camp that is refusing to arrange a deal. This week, Wilder has told The Telegraph that he is ready to fight Joshua this summer in London.
Such a bout would represent an incredible money spinner for the two fighters: a summer fight at Wembley would sell-out almost instantly and would be screened around the world. The pair represent the only heavyweights of world-class pedigree currently fighting today.
And, even better, there’d be an edge to the fight. In Wilder, boxing has a man that harks back to the classic dirty-talk days of years gone by. Just recently, he has drawn the ire of boxing boards, fans and colleagues alike by stating that he ‘wants a body’ on his record. Such a talk would’ve been accepted had it come from the words of, say, Mike Tyson in his 90’s heyday. But in today’s world, the comments have gone down horrendously. Joshua has dismissed Wilder as nothing more than a talker, pouring scorn on his words.
Should the pair meet this summer, either in London or in America, Joshua would be the favourite to claim all 4 heavyweight belts. Although unbeaten and in his prime, it is widely expected that Wilder would struggle against Joshua’s sheer size and power.
Joseph Parker put up an honest, hardworking effort against Joshua, but it was to little avail. The referee’s absurd performance, characterised by his refusal to allow close grappling and boxing, played into Joshua’s hands and we may well have seen a different fight if the referee allowed a more free-flowing bout. But it likely wouldn’t have made a difference to the outcome. Joshua emerged from Saturday with barely a scratch; Wilder will quietly be quaking in his boots at the thought of coming up against him this year.