Jospeh Parker fends off Fury chal­lenge

Manukau Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - DUN­CAN JOHN­STONE IN MANCH­ESTER

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.

AN­DREW COULDRIDGE/REUTERS

Joseph Parker cel­e­brates re­tain­ing his WBO heavy­weight box­ing ti­tle.

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