Anthony Joshua brought together the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles in a unanimous points win over Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The 28-year-old Garston boxer used his left hand to telling effect throughout an intriguing affair at the tension-filled event on March 31, in which New Zealand’s Parker displayed swift hands, movement and impressive durability.
But his WBO title always looked like it would end up round Joshua’s waist as a significant points gap opened up, with the favourite landing a hard left uppercut in round eight and two stinging left hooks early in the 10th.
Joshua said in the ring: “I was always going to stick behind the jab one of the most important weapons in boxing and kept the right hand up. This is boxing. It’s what we do. Forget the hype. Joseph Parker is a good world champion. As I said before, this would be about boxing. The main thing now is I am the unified heavyweight champion of the world.”
Joshua raised his right hand on ring announcer Michael Buffer’s reading of the cards and he now holds three of the four recognised world titles. Parker looked to the sky.
But Parker played his part in a compelling evening and brought colour to an intriguing build-up.
Never before had two world champions from the glamour division met to unify titles on British soil. For the away fighter this was a whole new level of scrutiny; for Joshua, it was a third consecutive stadium fight, with a cumulative 250,000 seats sold in the process.