Fact: Anthony Joshua beat Joseph Parker in a boxing match on Saturday the 31st of March in Cardiff
Fact: It was not a spectacle.
Let’s deal with the first fact. Joshua showed skill and boxing brains to get in the ring and beat another unbeaten heavyweight world champion. He managed to do what many other fighters had failed to do and beat Parker. He was head and shoulders above Hughie Fury in his approach and ability and showed that he has the skills to grow into being one of THE heavyweight boxers of the future. It pleased his coach and it pleased the past masters of the ring; for that he deserves admiration and huge credit.
Fact two? It hurt the brand. Casual fans will not continue to queue up to see Joshua unless there is a bit of blood, plenty of gory and a knockout. You can get away with a boring sequel once, a lacklustre follow up perhaps but then the audience starts to drift away. His next fight suddenly got critical.
And THAT is why it HAS to be against Deontay Wilder. Any other fighter would not gather the pace needed to make it a spectacle that could sell out any arena. The idea of him taking on Dillian Whyte or Alexander Povetkin must be put to one side and all efforts to get the BIG one in Wembley pushed as far and as quick as possible. We need to see this NOW.
If the main event didn’t live up to the hype – what about the undercard. Jings…
Light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi proved once again he is the real deal with an excellent performance against Bartlomiej Grafka in 6 rounds with a classy points win.
Lightweight Anthony Crolla bossed the tricky Edson Ramirez in a 10 round win that was oozing – what’s next please Mr Hearn.
The lightweight sensation that is Joe Cordina then blasted Hakim Ben Ali out in 3 rounds to win the WBA international belt and delight the home crowd.
The sensational welterweight Josh Kelly, got a 10 round points win over Carlos Modina for the WBA international belt showing his class and what we can expect – massive things. Modina was made to look far less than he is by Kelly.
Then we had two fights that could have headlined elsewhere. Bantamweight Ryan Burnett defended his crown with a broken hand against Yonfrez Parejo to retain his WBA title. The points win was never in doubt and unification as on his lips and everyone’s minds at the end of it all.
If that was a bit of a high then, like all good tragedies, the low came very low indeed, with heavyweight Alexander Povetkin stopping David Price in the 5th round for the WBA intercontinental title and to keep his place as the number 1 contender for the WBA. Time will tell if Price has reached his Ricky Burns moment or his Wladimir Klitschko nadir. When Burns was resurrecting his career, he went to Texas and lost and reinvigorated himself. When Klitschko lost to Joshua he resurrected his legacy after the Fury fight. The former led to the resurgence towards another world title, the latter retirement. The amiable Scouser has a decision to make but it was a brutal KO – perhaps that tells him something.
Whilst all that was going on, in Price’s home town of Liverpool super lightweight Michal Syrowatka lost by being stopped in the final round to Robbie Davies Jr for the WBA continental title. This was sweet revenge for Davies Jr as Syrowatka has taken his belt in their previous encounter and Davies Jr was keen to get it back – all it took was 3 knockdowns and a stoppage following the final one in round 12… Davies Jr is now number 5 in the WBA rakings.