Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 21-0 (20) has one regret from his IBF, WBA and WBO title fight against Joseph Parker 24-1 (18) at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales earlier in the month.
“Looking back I wished I knocked him out,” Joshua was quoted as saying at Newshub.co.nz.
Joshua, who defeated Parker by unanimous decision by scores of 118-110, 119-109 and 118-110, said he felt the pressure to perform with big money fights on the horizon with lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and WBC kingpin Deontay Wilder.
“When people were telling me, ‘Parker is quick, you know, he can fight,’ I was thinking, ‘He can, I’m going to get banged out in this fight’,” said Joshua.
“It was a hard situation I found myself in because I was fighting [Parker], but everyone was already talking about the next two fights [Wilder and Tyson Fury], so everyone is thinking I’m going to walk through these guys. I started having pressure on myself and I didn’t want to make any mistakes.
“I think I sacrificed my boxing entertainment, that risk-it-all mindset I had.
“Looking back at my last fight, I lost it in that fight because I was so focused on just boxing performance – hit, don’t get hit and control the fight – and there were times in there where I thought, ‘Ah, let me explode on this guy’.
“Then [I thought], ‘Woah, woah, I have to think about Wilder next, let me get back to doing what I’m doing’ and in a way it was good, because now when Wilder steps up, I’m going to take it to him hard.”
New Zealand’s Parker became the first opponent to last the distance with Englishman Joshua.
“For 20 fights, I catered for the knockout audience and I said for this one [Parker], I’m going to cater for the boxing experts, stick behind my jab and do it the old-school way,” Joshua said.
“It’s set up what’s to come next, and I’m learning on the job and I’m going to risk it all now.”