Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |


Joseph Parker outpoints Razvan Cojanu, retains WBO title


Joseph Parker was successful in retaining his WBO heavyweight title Saturday with a 12-round unanimous decision win over Razvan Cojanu at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City, New Zealand, but did little to steal the thunder from last week’s Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight classic.

The scores were 119-108 on one card and 117-110 on the other two, all for the 25-year-old fighter from New Zealand.

Parker (23-0, 18 knockouts) had initially been scheduled to face British heavyweight Hughie Fury – cousin of THE RING champion Tyson Fury – before Fury withdrew late last month citing an injury. David Higgins, president of Duco Events, claimed it was cold feet (“Their moral compass has been broken in half,” he told that caused Fury to pull out.

The late-replacement Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) outweighed Parker by nearly 30 pounds at 274.75 to Parker’s 245.75 pounds and was nearly four inches taller at 6-foot-7 1/2, but brought little offense early on as he waded into range.

Parker, making the first defense of the vacant title he won in December with a majority decision over Andy Ruiz Jr., was content to play it safe, popping jabs and moving, and flurrying once in a while to secure the rounds.

Parker drew numerous warnings in Round 3, first for rabbit punching and then for pushing off with the heel of his glove. Parker made his first earnest attempt at putting Cojanu away early in the fourth as he pounded through the Romanian’s guard with a right hand and attempted to follow up with overhand rights, body shots and a nicely placed left hook against the ropes. Cojanu responded by smiling, claiming no fault in the resultant clinching, and then being deducted a point for holding behind the head.

Falling behind, Cojanu landed his best punch of the fight in the fifth, shaking Parker with a right cross thrown straight at his chin. In follow-up rounds, Cojanu’s offense was primarily limited to gesturing dismissively whenever Parker landed a punch.

The best offensive flurry of the fight was reserved for the final 15 seconds, when both fighters let go their parting shots before going to the scorecards. Neither fighter was in serious danger at any point in the bout.

Parker’s performance against the No. 14 ranked contender was generally met with underwhelmed reactions on social media. Dillian Whyte, the 20-1 (15 KOs) heavyweight from England and No. 8 contender with the WBO, tweeted “I don’t rate joe Parker please make this fight please please.”

Earlier in the night, Tim Tszyu (4-0, 3 KOs) finished Ivana Siau (3-7-1, 3 KOs) in the second round, landing a right hand as Parsons bent over defenseless to bring the fight to a stop. The 22-year-old middleweight is the son of former junior welterweight champion and International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu.

In a battle of unbeatens, George Kambosos Jr. (12-0, 6 KOs) outpointed Qamil Ball (11-1-1, 5 KOs) to win a unanimous decision in a 10-round battle of Australian lightweights. Balla was knocked down once in the 10th.

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