Parker outworks Takam to win fight by unanimous decision

By John J. Raspanti

Rising New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker (19-0, 16 KOs) likely earned a shot at current IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua by winning a hard-fought 12 round unanimous over tough Carlos Takam (33-3-1, 25 KOs) at a rocking Vodafone Events Centre in, Manukau City, New Zealand Saturday night.
All three judges had Parker the winner by scores of 116-112 (twice) and 115-113.
Parker said earlier this week that he would start the match boxing, and in the opening stanza he did just that, but it was the more experienced Takam who beat him to the punch. The hometown hero responded in round two by using his own stinging left to set the pace. Takam connected with a couple of hard left hooks. Both fighters landed solid shots. Takam used lateral movement. Parker followed and unloaded. Patience was the key.
Takam was looking to counter--while Parker was leading.
In round three, Parker snapped off double jabs and clubbing rights. Takam was trying to work off his back foot, but he wasn’t punching enough. Parker, 24, continued to be the more active man in round four. His quick hands had Takam on the defensive. A combination to the head and body landed. Takam countered with a right, but Parker absorbed the blow.
Takam, 35, needed to make something happen in round five. He came out bouncing and jabbing. Parker connected with a number of hard right hands. Takam forced Parker into the ropes and finally let his hands go. His rally was his most effective of the fight, but his offensive inconsistency was hurting him.
Parker landed a blistering combination in round six. Takam’s change in tactics at the end of round five had been successful. Parker looked winded in round seven, but his work rate was winning the round. Takam came on at the end of the round, but Parker pounded home a wicked body shot.
With four rounds go, this writer had Parker winning the fight by a few points. Takam was either pacing himself or looking for one punch. Hard to win a decision that way. Parker suddenly unloaded a number of hard head shots. The blows woke up Takam--who though shaken, punched back.
Takam got in Parker’s grill in round nine. Parker jabbed and tried to stay away. Takam clipped him with a heavy right hand. Parker was feeling the pace. He looked happy when the stanza ended.
In rounds 10 and 11, Parker used side-to-side movement. Takam, as he did in every heat, started slowly. Parker had found his second wind. He snapped off lefts and rights to keep Takam at bay. His use of angles was impressive.
Takam was likely behind on the scorecards heading into the 12th and final round. His corner implored him to go for a knockout. In the opposing corner, Parker’s trainer, Kevin Barry, implored his charge to keep boxing. The young man did as he was told. Takam did connect with a some solid punches, but Parker, showing a good chin, fired back.
"I trained very hard for this fight," said the victorious Parker. "Thank you to all the supporters for coming out tonight."

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