Jospeh Parker fends off Fury challenge
Joseph Parker’s quest to conquer the British heavyweight boxing scene and beyond is alive after a gritty win over Hughie Fury in Manchester.
The WBO world champion defended his title wih a majority points decision on Sunday (NZT). The judges scored the fight 118-110, 118-110, and 114-114.
Parker’s win will send a message to his doubters who have questioned his rights to be at the elite level. It was a solid British debut by the 25-year-old New Zealander as he backed up his prefight confidence.
Parker couldn’t knock out Fury as promised, but he landed the far heavier punches throughout on a night when Fury used his footwork to try to frustrate the Kiwi.
There was huge risk in taking his belt to Fury’s backyard but the rewards are massive.
Parker earned close to $2 million for the victory but greater riches are now within his grasp.
A top British opponent will be lined up in what will be another step towards a unification fight with WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua.
In the dressing room after the fight Parker told Sky Sports that he felt he had won the bout and believed beating Fury would open up bigger and better things.
‘‘I feel this opens up big fights,’’ said Parker, who claimed he would fight ‘‘anyone and everyone’’ in the elite heavyweight division.
The South Aucklander said he was ‘‘really happy to be able to take the title home’’ and he would have ‘‘a bit of a break in New Zealand’’ before resuming training in Las Vegas under Kiwi coach Kevin Barry.
Parker felt he was more aggressive than Fury, but said his rival ‘‘did move well’’ and was ‘‘very awkward.’’
He said he ‘‘caught him with the harder punches’’ and felt he had ‘‘won the fight easily’’, but was glad the judges saw it that way.
Parker now returns to New Zealand for a break before heading back to his Las Vegas base to prepare with trainer Kevin Barry for the next assignment.
Joseph Parker celebrates retaining his WBO heavyweight boxing title.