British professional boxer, Anthony Joshua, was taken the distance for the first time in his professional career before winning a unanimous points decision in his world heavyweight title unification fight with Joseph Parker in Cardiff on Saturday.
After 12 rounds, Joshua triumphed 118-110, 118-110, 119-109 on the three judges’ scorecards.
Victory extended the London 2012 Olympic champion’ perfect pro record to 21 wins from as many bouts but was the first in which he’d failed to do so by a knockout.
It also saw International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association champion Joshua add Parker’s World Boxing Organisation belt to his collection.
This result was New Zealand boxer Parker’s first defeat in his 25-fight pro career.
Saturday’s contest in front of a 78,000 capacity crowd at the Principality Stadium was the first time two previously undefeated heavyweight champions had met for a world title in Britain.
Joshua’s win should move him closer to a bout against Deontay Wilder, the American who holds the World Boxing Council’s version of the heavyweight title.
Wilder had been due at ringside but didn’t show and a confident Joshua, speaking to Sky Sports, after his win was confirmed:
“Wilder, let’s go baby.
“Bring him here and I’ll knock him spark out.”
“Remember that I am the unified heavyweight champion of the world.
“That is 21 professional fights with six world title fights in it.
“My strategy was to stick behind the jab and that secured me another world title belt.”
With Joshua earning a reported £15 million and Parker £7 million, this was easily the biggest fight of the beaten boxer’s career.
“I lost to the better champion tonight,” said Parker.
“We will back again stronger and I’m happy I went the twelve rounds.”