By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker and his team believe he deserved more credit on the scorecards than he received Saturday night.
Even they admit, though, that the former WBO heavyweight champion didn’t do enough to upset Anthony Joshua in their title unification fight in Cardiff, Wales. Each of the three judges – New Zealand’s Ian Scott (119-109), England’s Steve Gray (118-110) and the United States’ Steve Weisfeld (118-110) – scored the fight for Joshua by wide distances.
“I thought [the scores] were a bit wide, but, you know, that’s the judges,” Parker said during the post-fight press conference. “Judges do their job. You can’t complain. But I thought they were a bit wide.”
According to unofficial CompuBox statistics, England’s Joshua landed 139-of-383 overall punches, 38 more than New Zealand’s Parker (101-of-492).
CompuBox credited Joshua with connecting on 93-of-270 jabs, nearly twice as many as Parker (49-of-316). Parker landed more power punches than Joshua (52-of-176 to 46-of-113).
“First of all, I’m proud of Joseph and our team,” David Higgins, Parker’s co-promoter, said. “I agree with what Joseph and [trainer] Kevin [Barry] have said. … You can be ungracious when putting the fight together. But one must be gracious in defeat. And I think we didn’t do quite enough to win in Anthony Joshua’s hometown, so there are no excuses.”
Barry was displeased with how the referee, Italy’s Giussepe Quartarone, handled the bout because he didn’t allow them to fight inside. The veteran trainer didn’t dispute that Joshua won their 12-round fight, though.
“I think the New Zealand judge had the widest margin,” Barry joked.
Parker regrets that he wasn’t more aggressive in the championship rounds.
“You know, [I was] just trying to fight smart,” Parker said. “I can fight more than 12 rounds. My fitness was good. But maybe a bit too cautious. Like I said, it’s just learning, and I think with these fights you get better. … I felt fit. Fit, but maybe too cautious.”
By the midway mark of their fight, Barry believed Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) had an opportunity to win because he began boxing well against the 6-feet-6, 242-pound Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs).
“I thought after six rounds it was our fight to win,” Barry said. “I said to Joe I thought Joshua definitely had a good first four rounds. He was moving well. Five, not so much. Joe touched him a few times in the fifth, and the sixth I thought was decent. And I said to Joe after the sixth I really thought this could be our fight to win now.
“And, you know, Joe landed a lot of very good body shots that obviously the judges sitting at ringside tonight didn’t score. And I thought Joshua actually was tiring. But, you know, for some guy who’s had a few problems with stamina in the past, you know, he grinded away.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.