Joshua reigns supreme - for the good of boxing's muddled world Wilder must be next

And then there were three. The WBA, the IBF and now the WBO heavyweight titles.

The only pyrotechnics came in literal form during his prolonged ring entrance, but Anthony Joshua stayed out of trouble to out-point Joseph Parker - a man previously without defeat. He was simply without ideas during the championship rounds; without a title as he graciously accepted defeat in Cardiff.

Parker's much-vaunted chin proved worthy of the pre-fight billing but Joshua was bright enough not to head hunt too readily, using rights to the body to fine effect.

It meant the Briton, who weighed in at a trim 17st 4lbs, was able to answer questions over his stamina by being the visibly fresher man as he closed out a lopsided and forgettable unanimous decision.

Thoughts turned to the elephant in the room immediately after the verdict. Or not in the room, given Deontay Wilder's increasingly infantile spat with Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn meant the hammer-fisted and motor-mouthed WBC champion passed up on the chance to watch from ringside at the Principality Stadium.

Whatever differences there are between the camps, it is imperative they are straightened out so Joshua and Wilder meet in a truly blockbuster unification later this year.

Boxing's blue ribband division, so often mired in confusion and encouraging general apathy for much of the 21st century, has definitive clarity within touching distance.

Many elements of previous golden eras cannot be recaptured for a myriad of reasons. But when Joe Louis, Muhammed Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and other ruled the roost, there was no doubt over who was the man.

Joshua's compatriot, Lewis, was the last man to hold all the major belts (the WBO strap Parker let slip was not widely considered to be part of that equation at the time) when he defeated Evander Holyfield in 1999. Soon afterwards, the governing bodies were inevitably involved with mandatory obligations and the title splintered.

This will happen again soon enough. Alexander Povetkin chillingly knocked out David Price on the Cardiff undercard and is in position for a shot at the WBA crown, while the IBF has ordered an unappetising final eliminator between Kubrat Pulev and former Joshua foe Dominic Breazeale.

Joshua and Wilder must meet this year for all four major titles. If they do, boxing interminable politicking means the victor would not keep hold of them all for too long.

What they would retain is the distinction of the being the first undisputed champion of this millennium. No unfulfilled mandatory can dull that distinction.

Boxing would have the standard bearer it craves. This stirring, maddening sport would lapse into fresh controversy and shoot itself in the foot again soon enough, but at least it would have Joshua or Wilder as the unquestioned master of all they survey.

Here's hoping Wilder's pre-fight Twitter tirade about only wanting to fight the best rings true. It is incumbent upon all involved to make this mega-fight happen.

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