Seventy eight thousand fans in attendance, four belts to be claimed, three titles for unification, and two undefeated Heavyweight champions ready for action.
Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker put everything on the line in last Saturday’s match from Cardiff, Wales.
These two men were exemplary in their approach to the fight.
There was no mudslinging, no trash talking, no embarrassing behavior.
They remained gentlemen at the weigh-in. Even during the ridiculous “faceoff” (which occasionally erupts into humiliating antics that give the sport a black eye) they were cool, calm and respectful.
As a matter of fact they ended their staredown by applauding one another.
They shook hands and started chatting like they were making plans to have their families get together for fish and chips.
However, the fight escalated fast.
From first bell, both tried to establish their jab and get their range and timing.
Throughout the early frames they kept their distance in deference to each other’s strength and skills.
In the middle rounds they picked up the pace, began closing the distance, and they threw more combinations.
There was a good exchange in the 6th, but the referee stepped in too early instead of letting them fight their way out of a clench.
Halfway through the scheduled 12 rounds, it was still an even fight and very difficult to score.
Joshua unleashed his overhand right in Round 7 with some success.
The ref again slowed the tempo by stepping in unnecessarily, and separating the fighters at a critical junction.
Parked had ducked a punch. While he was bent over, Joshua caught him with a hook to the head.
Parker was visibly rocked. He pushed forward to try to clench, but Joshua stepped back and launched an uppercut that would have ended the event.
Unfortunately, just as Joshua fired, the ref stepped in to pry them apart…smothering the uppercut.
Joshua owned the later rounds and dictated the action.
In the 10th Parker ducked directly into an errant elbow, which opened a cut to the outside of his left eye.
The championship rounds were more of the same.
Joshua went all 12-rounds for the first time in his career, and the judges must have given him all the close rounds because their scores (119-110 and 118-110, twice) were farther apart than expected in a unanimous decision for Anthony Joshua.
He improves his campaign to 21 wins, against no losses, with 20 victories by way of knockout.
Undefeated Super Middleweight Jason Robert Quigley returned to the ring after a year off due to a hand injury suffered in March of 2017.
Quigley (fresh from Ireland) landed a right hook to Glen Tapia’s iron jaw, which broke a bone in Quigley’s hand and separated the flexor tendon from the bone…in Round 2.
Quigley fought on for eight more rounds, averaging 80-punches per, and he cleaned Tapia’s clock.
In his first bout back, Quigley laced them up against durable Daniel Rosario (11-4, 10 KO’s).
Rosario’s last bout was eight months ago, he’s only fought four times in as many years, and he suffered a split decision loss and a majority decision loss in his last two bouts.
Accordingly, this fight was lousy with ring-rust and turned into a sloppy donnybrook early.
Quigley’s muscle memory kicked in quickly. He banged to the body and put Rosario on the mat in Round 2.
It was ruled a “slip”…it weren’t.
Quigley sharpened as the bout progressed. He landed repeated shots to the body, until a solid left hook to the liver sent Rosario back to the floor.
He writhed in pain, but beat the count, and continued.
Quigley targeted the same spot, and landed another wicked hook.
Rosario returned to the rug and the referee called a halt to the contest.
Good call, ref.
Jason Robert Quigley (14-0, 11 KO’s) is officially back.
God Bless and have some fish and chips.
Mark Felicetti enjoys a tangy malt vinegar. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.