- Publish Date
- Sunday, 1 April 2018, 12:08PM
He's given up the WBO world title, but maybe gained a few fans for his battling yet skillful display against Anthony Joshua here in Cardiff.
Joseph Parker has lost this world heavyweight unification bout by unanimous decision, but is the first man to go the distance with the Englishman.
It wasn't without controversy. New Zealand judge Ian Scott awarded it 119-109 to Joshua, with the two others, American Steve Weisfeld and Brit Steve Gray scoring it 118-110.
The issues were several – from the drama pre-fight when his hands were wrapped, to Joshua continually hitting after the break.
But the fact is, Parker just couldn't get close enough. He had good moments but not enough and couldn't hurt Joshua when it mattered.
For the 26-year-old to win this he had to have a lot of things go right. Unfortunately for him, Joshua was just too powerful and with a jab that was better than Parker's.
"My strategy was to stick behind the jab, that's one of the most important weapons," Joshua said in the ring afterwards.
The 28-year-old Englishman stated he wants to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and on this form he will be. It's difficult to see Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion, taking the IBF, WBA and now WBO titles from him.
Parker's best rounds were the first two and possibly the fifth, but he looked the most dangerous when he was tagged. Unfortunately for him, when he went to engage and brawl, the referee got in the way.
"Today I got beaten by a better champion, a better man," Joshua said to cheers for the first time of the night.
The main event, which took place after a horrible knockout of Englishman David Price by Russian Alexander Povetkin in the main undercard fight, and after boos greated the Samoan and New Zealand anthems, took place in a frenzied atmosphere.
Parker, dressed in white shorts like his opponent, got some success to the body in the first round, and scored with a left hook near his red corner. Both men were cagey but Joshua was especially so.
Parker probably shaded the second round with a couple of solid body punches and an overhand right which found the target Joshua was close with his power punches but Parker was slightly out of range every time.
Joshua found his range in the third and both men were warned for leading with their heads. Immediately after Parker landed a left hook but it was Joshua's round.
The fourth was Joshua's – he landed the heavier punches by far and looked dominant but he wasn't hurting Parker.
Parker stepped on the throttle in the fifth – scoring with a good combination and getting success with an overhand right to the head. It was a close round but Parker may have edged it.
In the sixth, a brawl broke out; Joshua landing and then, fired up, Parker chased him around the ring before the pair were separated. Parker scored with a right uppercut, but Joshua probably edged it.
The seventh was another close round, with both men hitting on the break, referee Giuseppe Quartarone issuing another warning.
The eighth was possibly Joshua's best round, but a strip of tape on his left glove was flapping for most of it. Strangely the referee didn't call a time out to fix it. The tape issue was back in the next round, this time on his right hand.
The end of the ninth round was marked by a nod of respect from both men. Another close one.
There was blood in the 10th, a cut near Parker's left eye, and more controversy. The tape came loose from Joshua's left glove again, and Joshua hit after the break once again, the referee overly eager to get between the two men when they started brawling.
Parker scored with good shots in the 11th, but Joshua seemingly had an answer to everything Parker threw at him. He also scored with the dramatic head shots which brought the crowd into the fight.
Joshua comfortably took the final round.
There was drama in the hour or so before the fight when Joshua's representative watching Parker's hands being wrapped complained. However, according to Parker's promoter David Higgins, the complaint, a tactic to try to disrupt Parker, was dismissed by British Boxing Board of Control representative Robert Smith.
The night is Joshua's and deservedly so – he is a great champion.