Anthony Joshua has the world at his feet after beating Deontay Wilder
A few hours after Deontay Wilder had horrifically claimed that once he transforms into the masked Bronze Bomber, he would happily kill an opponent in the ring.
The American said so without remorse despite the astonishment of the TMZ presenters who were interviewing him.
Joshua meanwhile spent the evening preaching unity and acceptance, of both Wilder and each other, although he couldn’t resist bigging himself up just a little.
“F*** the humility,” he said at one point while claiming Parker hadn’t hurt him at any point, his speech quickening and accent loosening in a telltale sign that Joshua’s exuberance was baring itself.
Usually, it is kept under wraps by an effort to portray a calm, controlled, calculating exterior, a far cry from the wild child of his teenager years who turned up at Finchley ABC all those years ago, just a skinny, hyperactive kid looking for an outlet.
The easiest accusation to level at Joshua is that he is no boxer, that he just wants to stand in the middle of the ring and throw power punches. It is not an unfair one.
He has such high “physicals” as the Americans would say that he has been able to do that, even if it saw Wladimir Klitschko rock him at one point.
But Parker was always going to test his boxing IQ and worryingly for the rest of the division, he showed a remarkable amount of growth.
Anthony Joshua impressed by outboxing Joseph Parker
There were several moments in the middle rounds where Joshua could have seized an opportunity to trade, as he loves to do. He could have taken a few to give a few and backed his own ability to be superior.
But at least twice you could almost see the thought process as he released his finger from the trigger.
This wasn’t about punches in bunches and a spectacular knockout.
Joseph Parker is a champion and he must be outboxed.
Wilder will be a different prospect.
Joseph Parker posed a significant threat to Anthony Joshua
An Olympic bronze medallist, he will pose technical questions for Joshua as well as physical ones.
He is an inch taller than the Brit and throws power punches from unusual angles.
Joshua’s jab will be an important weapon but he will be outreached.
It will require yet more boxing lessons in the build-up.
Joshua of course has never lacked a quality jab.
Everything he does well in the ring starts with it.
Anthony Joshua used his jab to great effect
“A good jab will take you round the world,” he reminded us as the clock ticked close to 2am on Easter Sunday in the bowels of the Principality Stadium, many hours after the arena had been cleared of its 78,000 fans.
It looks as though one place it will now take him is the US.
Despite the presence of the legendary Michael Buffer in the ring, “the fighting pride of the United Kingdom” still does not have a huge profile in the States, which would be important to selling a unification bout with Wilder.
And the question of location is another which betrayed Joshua’s penchant for showmanship and occasional inability to control the adrenalin coursing through his veins.
“All these years, the UK fighters had to go to America and everyone had to spend a heap of money to go to Vegas,” he said from the ring.
“We can do it in London, around Wembley, or Cardiff. It’s local. We’re staying right here.”
It delighted the crowd, who had booed him five months previous when he suggested going to Las Vegas.
But afterwards, sitting next to Eddie Hearn, who had briefed in the week that a bout in New York against Jarrell Miller or Bryant Jennings would be a good next option, Joshua rowed back.
He pointed to his team and said that they would have to make a collective decision. Britain may have to let him go – at least for a bit.
However, having shown his boxing acumen in the ring, Joshua is keen not to be taken advantage outside the ring either.
Parker is known as a meticulous reader of his own contracts and while AJ would rather leave the nitty-gritty of his deals to the team who have brought him to this point, he isn’t afraid of the process of making Joshua vs Wilder for all the belts.
“I’m not into the business of hype and I would love to go to America with Eddie or Rob and look at the landscape, see how serious they are,” Joshua said.
“Deal with it behind closed doors.
“A lot of negotiations can go on over social media and YouTube channels but when you’re doing serious business, you have to sit down in confidential privacy and discuss terms and conditions.
“Then we can see how serious people are about taking fights.”
Hearn too expressed frustration at the childish nature of talks thus far.
“If they stepped up and were serious about the fight and the deal that we are more than fair to offer them, it could happen next,” he said.
“But they are so erratic and unpredictable, I don’t know what to believe.”
One thing Hearn can believe is that he sits next to a 28-year-old with the world at his feet. And he is only getting better.
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