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Moves to Remember: Joshua vs. Parker technique breakdown

The study of the sweet science of boxing is essential when training in the sport of MMA. Here are the best techniques from the highly anticipated heavyweight boxing match back on March 31st.

Anthony Joshua went the distance for the first time in his professional career, on the way to winning a unanimous decision in his world heavyweight title unification fight with Joseph Parker this past weekend. All of Joshua’s previous wins came by way of knockout.

Both fighters seemed a bit unwilling to engage, resulting in a contest that was fought at a safe distance, where the longer Joshua was more successful in using the jab. AJ clearly won the fight, as Parker wasn’t able to land any damaging punches and seemed a bit intimidated by Joshua’s speed and significant reach advantage.

A lot of clinching was involved as well, in the form of underhooks and headlock-type clinches by the taller Joshua. The referee’s willingness to stop the fight without any significant reason did not help the action progress as you can see here: gif/clip

Although this fight followed a constant jab-right cross-clinch pattern there were some interesting moves that should be examined, most of them involving jabs.

So, here are the best moves from Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker:

Technique #1

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Fundamental boxing moves become effective weapons in the hands of great fighters, and this is a solid example. Joseph Parker attacks with a jab and Anthony Joshua parries, pivots to his left and attacks with a left hook. It is important to notice Joshua’s tight form and economy of movement. In order to apply this counter correctly it helps if a boxer is the longer fighter.

Technique #2

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Joshua’s speed is impressive for a heavyweight. Here he attacks with a jab and, as Parker pulls back, Anthony attacks with a right hook to the body. Jabs and right hooks to the body can be combined in various different ways, and complement each-other well when fighting at range. It is interesting to see how Joshua ‘sells’ the body punch by avoiding telegraphed movement after the jab. There is no way to tell if he will follow up with a right cross, a hook to the body or a second jab.

Technique #3

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Parker seemed reluctant to commit to his punches and fully extend them in order to connect. Here he feints a jab and follows with a right cross. Joshua pulls back, lands a right cross to the body, misses with a left hook, and lands a second right cross to the body. Notice how he pulls the hand back after the hook (photo 5) and almost touches Parker’s shoulder in order to check the distance before landing the second right cross hard against Parker’s ribs. Parker attacks with a left hook at the end of the sequence (photo 6), but Anthony moves his head to the left and the punch does not really connect.

Technique #4

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Anthony slips a jab and connects with a jab of his own, slips a second jab and connects with an ‘elbow check.’ As Parker goes for the clinch, Joshua just turns his left arm downwards and goes under his opponent’s armpit in order to get an underhook. The ‘elbow check’ is a good way to keep an opponent’s head and chin up to follow up with punches. See the move in photo 5. In MMA, a fighter could put power behind the elbow-check in order to land it in the form of an elbow strike.

Technique #5

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Joshua attacks with a jab. Parker pivots left, lands a jab and keeps moving left and backwards in order to get away from an incoming right cross. Boxing is a game of inches and moving to the left with your hands down when a right hand is coming your way can be a dangerous proposition. This is why I prefer Floyd Mayweather’s version or preemptively rolling under right hands when moving left. That being said, experienced boxers like Parker can use their unique sense of timing and their experience in order to get out of trouble.

Technique #6

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Parker lands a jab as Joshua attacks with a jab-right cross. Parker then uses a right slip/roll-under hybrid in order to avoid the incoming right cross and connects with a right uppercut that lands on Anthony’s chest, near the armpit. This seemed to stun Joshua or at least make him hesitate. A very nice counter from Parker.

Technique #7

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Parker attacks with a jab, Joshua slips right and counters with a right uppercut, left hook and finally lands a right cross to the body. Notice (again) how Anthony misses the hook and turns the hand back to touch Parker’s shoulder in order to check the distance before he goes for the right cross to the body. Although Parker lost the fight, he was able to neutralize most of his opponent’s offensive attempts. This is easier said than done as Joshua is a dangerous fighter.

That’s all for now. Please join me next week for another breakdown. For a list of my previous technique breakdowns on Bloody Elbow, check out this link.

About the Author: Kostas Fantaousakis is a researcher of fighting concepts, tactics, and techniques, and a state-certified MMA, grappling, and wrestling coach in Greece. He teaches his unique Speedforce MMA mittwork system © which combines strikes, takedowns, knees, and elbows applied in the Continuous Feedback © mittwork system of the Mayweather family. Kostas is a brown belt in BJJ under MMA veteran and BJJ world champion Wander Braga (the teacher of Gabriel Napao Gonzaga).

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