By John J. Raspanti
So much for the theory that WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) couldn’t win a decision in the UK. Parker, a native of New Zealand, retained his title with an uneventful majority decision over crowd favorite Hughie Fury (20-1,10 KOs) at the Manchester Arena in London, England Saturday night.
The scores were 114-114 and 118-110 (twice) for Parker.
Maxboxing scored the fight 116-112 for Parker.
The thinking before the bout was that Fury would use his legs and box—while Parker would chase after him. The theory was sound, though the action was limited.
In the opening rounds, Fury flicked out jabs and frustrated the onrushing Parker. The challenger landed an occasional uppercut. Parker, slightly shorter, but obviously the heavier puncher, missed more than he landed.
Parker was told by his corner to go the body and forget about the head.
Sound advice since Fury was slippery and hard to corner. Parker edged closer as the fight wore on, but an inability to cutoff the ring was hurting him. Parker did land a few jabs to Fury’s midsection. In round five he finally caught Fury with a roundhouse right from ringside. Fury appeared stunned, but used his legs to move out of trouble.
Fury connected with a sweet uppercut in round six, but the blow had no effect on Parker. Parker nailed Fury with a good combination near the end of the stanza. Fury continued to move to his left and right, but the maneuver, though clever, wasn’t scoring points.
Parker forced him into the ropes and let fly with a right. It landed, but Fury quickly fired back.
Round 10 was close with Fury jabbing while backpeddling. Parker clipped him with a few belly blows. Parker marched forward in the last two rounds, forcing the action while Fury stuck out his left and tried to counter. Parker connected with another heavy punch a few seconds before the final bell rang.
“It’s awesome to get the victory," said Parker."Hard work pays off. I feel this fight will open up some big fights for us.”
“I don’t know what happened with the judges,” said a perplexed Fury.
What happened was Parker landed the harder shots and made the fight.
With the victory, Parker likely earned a shot at the man who beat the man, IBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titleholder, Anthony Joshua, in 2018.
Joshua returns to the ring in October to face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.