Reigning IBF, WBA (Super) and IBO champion Anthony Joshua reaffirmed himself as world Boxing’s heavyweight king, as he defeated WBO champion Joseph Parker at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. A crowd of approximately 80,000 was on hand to witness Joshua take out a unanimous decision victory.

Despite taking out all three scorecards by a comfortable margin, England’s Joshua faced one of the toughest tests of his career so far, taken through all 12 rounds for the first time in his 21 professional bouts.

Reach advantage

Joshua used his size and reached advantage to control the ring for the majority of the fight, keeping Parker at bay with his jab and forcing him back against the ropes early.

Parker had fleeting success with his left hand in the third round as Joshua started to open up and look for more power shots but ultimately was not able to consistently close the distance and land.

New Zealand’s Parker threatened to turn the momentum in his favor in the fifth round, attacking Joshua with a heavy pressure game that appeared to have the Brit rattled. Parker’s rally lasted two rounds, before Joshua adjusted sharply, reasserting a comfortable distance and landing with a short left hook and right uppercut on multiple occasions when Parker tried to attack.

The later rounds were a stop-start affair, referee Giuseppe Quartarone constantly stepping in to separate the two fighters whenever they got close - a pattern that Joshua was all too happy with, stopping Parker’s momentum whenever the Kiwi tried to negate Joshua’s reach.

Reports of Parker having a cardio advantage late in the fight proved to be greatly overblown, Joshua looking comfortable right up until the final bell, the length of his jab being the only defense he needed against the threat of Parker’s power right hand. Joshua, who had finished all of his previous 20 wins by knockout, was content to ride the fight out and face the judges’ decision.

Two judges awarded him the fight 118-110, the other scoring it 119-109, all in Joshua’s favor.

Joshua's next test

After winning one more belt to add to his collection, Joshua is now expected to go after Deontay Wilder’s WBC title, one that would cement Joshua’s status as the undisputed best heavyweight boxer in the world today.

32-year-old Wilder defended his title on March 3, defeating Luis Ortiz by TKO in the tenth round. Wilder has already been campaigning to fight Joshua, and with a record of 40-0 and 39 wins by KO/TKO, it promises to be another stiff challenge for Joshua and a massive spectacle for boxing fans worldwide.