They had had their blood earlier in the evening. In the fifth round of the chief support fight, David Price, a popular Liverpool heavyweight, had been caught cold by Alexander Povetkin. Out on his feet, Price stood there, arms by his side, expression vacant as Povetkin advanced upon him.
Povetkin stared at Price for a second, weighing up whether he was really as defenceless as he seemed, and then decided to act.
He swung a brutal hook at Price that jolted his head back and sent him thudding to the canvas where he bounced and came to rest.
Anthony Joshua overcame Joseph Parker by a unanimous decision at the Principality StadiumiPhone transfer software
He was revived, thankfully, but the defeat, and particularly the manner of it means it was probably the end of his career.
Dreams can be broken and destroyed in the boxing ring as well as realised. Fortunes can be lost as well as made.
So for those who seemed underwhelmed by Anthony Joshua’s commanding victory over Joseph Parker on Satuday night, for the majority who met the final bell with murmurs rather than cheers, maybe they misunderstand the nature of the career Joshua is building here. Joshua was taken the distance for the first time by the New Zealander. It was not a particularly explosive fight but it was part of Joshua’s education.
Whoever they put in front of him, whether it is a hulking lump, or a lithe, quick, elusive fighter like Parker, he finds a way to win.
‘Parker said this would be a war,’ Joshua said as he stood victorious in the ring after the fight, ‘but I knew that was not what it would be about. This was about boxing finesse.’
Parker was not an easy opponent, anyway. He, too, was unbeaten and when somebody’s O has to go, there is always an added element of danger. What mattered was that at the end of the 12 rounds, Joshua had won comfortably by unanimous decision and added the WBO version of the heavyweight titles to his own IBO, WBA and IBF titles.
Joshua added the WBO version of the heavyweight titles to his own IBO, WBA and IBF titles
He had moved a big step closer to becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis in 2000.
Only Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion, now stands in the way of Joshua joining the greats of the division, men like Muhammad Ali, Lewis, Mike Tyson and Joe Louis.
Joshua wants to fight Wilder in the UK, not in America. ‘Get him in the ring and I will knock him spark out,’ he said after his 21st straight victory of his undefeated career.
Wilder was supposed to be at ringside on Saturday night but he did not make it to Cardiff. He had been planning to fly over as a guest of Sky but had made it a condition of his attendance that, if Joshua won, he would be allowed to climb into the ring after the fight to tell Joshua in person that he intended to knock him out. Wilder said Joshua had blocked the request so he decided to stay at home in the US.
For all the posturing of the two camps, Wilder represents Joshua’s most likely next opponent. Joshua mentioned the possibility of fighting Tyson Fury, too, but Fury’s comeback is still in its infancy and it is unlikely that even a man as confident as him would feel ready to fight Joshua this year. Wilder is the biggest money fight, too. And he is the key to unification.
So Fury is out there, Wilder is out there and Dillian Whyte, fresh from his crushing defeat of Lucas Browne, is ready for a rematch. Joshua will never be short of options. He can pick and choose. Povetkin, by the way,