On Saturday night, from Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Anthony Joshua defeated Joseph Parker by unanimous decision to win the WBO heavyweight title, in addition to retaining the IBF and WBA heavyweight championships.
Here are three things we learned from the event:
Another one bites the dust
Maybe Joshua sensed a victory over Parker when he chose the Queen song to begin his walkout to the ring. But, it was a more difficult fight than many people thought it would go.
Joshua struggled for the first half of bout due to Parker keeping him at bay with the jab and using his speed. You have to give Parker credit: he implemented a game plan many didn't think would be successful. The New Zealand native frustrated Joshua and made him think more than the unified heavyweight has ever had to do in his career.
But when it mattered most in the championship rounds, Joshua showed why he is the best heavyweight in the world. He showed a lot of heart, bit down on his mouthpiece, realized he wasn't going to win by knockout and became a boxer: he utilized the jab and the left hand which caught Parker on more than one occasion.
Even though he's knockout streak ended at 20, Joshua ran his record to 21-0. He exemplified what a true champion is all about.
Who will Joshua face next? It should be WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder but time will tell.
The man in the middle
Usually in a fight, the referee is to be not heard from nor seen from especially in a fight of this magnitude. His job is to see if any fouls occur, count a knockdown and break the fighters up if there's any holding.
We didn't see that in this fight as referee Giuseppe Quartarone made himself the story instead of being a spectator.
It started in the fifth round when Joshua and Parker were exchanging shots and Quartarone — for some reason — decided to step in and break them up. You wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, as maybe he got a little excited. We were incorrect.
Quartarone would step in anytime there was an exchange on the inside. At one point, he even let Joshua call his own timeout as tape was coming off of his glove. Note to Quartarone: only the referee can call a timeout, not the fighters.
The icing on the cake was with 10 seconds left in the fight, Quartarone broke up Joshua and Parker so he could be in the center of the action.
Per the Showtime broadcast, announcer Mauro Ranallo said this was only the fourth championship fight of Quartarone's career. How could the British Boxing Board of Control allow someone so inexperienced to be the third man in the ring in a fight to determine the unified heavyweight championship of the world?
Without question, this was the worst officiating job I have ever seen in the sport of boxing. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves for allowing Quartarone to be anywhere near a ring.
Joshua won't fight in the United States
In the buildup, Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn told Sporting News that Joshua needs to fight in the United States to further establish himself as a global superstar. Joshua hadn't said much about it but that is no longer the case.
In his post-fight interview with Sky Sports, Joshua made it clear he won't compete in the United States and if you want to face him, then come to the United Kingdom. He justified his position in saying that he's selling out stadiums and generating all the revenue while the other heavyweights aren't coming close to doing such a thing,
The point Joshua made is a valid one. He is the biggest draw in the sport. There's no question about it. When you sell nearly 250,000 tickets to your last three fights, you do hold a lot of the cards.
But Joshua needs the United States more than he realizes. He can make more money in one fight than he could overseas due to being on pay-per-view not only in the U.K. but in the United States combined with a larger show guarantee. Two pieces of pie are better than one.
As it always does in sports, whether we like or not, it always is about the money.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. Subscribe to his You Tube channel here . You can email him at email@example.com and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA .