Britain’s Anthony Joshua has added the WBO belt to his collection of titles with a win over Joseph Parker.
For the first time Joshua was forced to go the distance – but was unanimously declared the winner with a wide margin on the judges’ scorecards:118-110 twice and 119-109.
After his win, Joshua told Sky Sports: “My strategy was to stick behind the jab.
“I was switched on and I was focused, Joseph Parker is a world champion and I said this was about boxing finesse.
“What you can’t forget is that I am the unified heavyweight champion of the world.”
Both fighters had stepped into the ring undefeated at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and the win extends Joshua’s perfect pro record to 21 victories from as many bouts.
Parker said afterwards: “I lost to the better champion tonight.
“We will back again stronger and I’m happy I went the 12 rounds.”
Joshua had won his previous 20 fights with knockouts but struggled to land clean shots on Parker, as a crowd of 78,000 watched on.
There was some criticism of Italian referee Giuseppe Quartarone, who was described by some commentators as preventing the fight from flowing.
As for Joshua’s future plans, Deontay Wilder holds the other main heavyweight belt, the WBC’s, and could meet Joshua before the end of this year.
“I’m not into the hype, let’s get the business done,” he said after the bout.
“Let’s see what the future holds, I’m down for whatever, whenever.”
Then he screamed: “Wilder, let’s go baby!”