Joseph Parker scores majority decision over Hughie Fury
Joseph Parker has a 24-hour journey back to New Zealand ahead of him but he might just manage to crack a smile.
The WBO heavyweight titleholder successfully defended his belt for the second time with a dull 12-round majority decision over Hughie Fury at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, on Saturday. One judge scored the bout even at 114-114 but was overruled by two ludicrously wide tallies of 118-110.
Parker, who is rated No. 5 by THE RING at heavyweight, looked lackluster for most of the 12 rounds and Fury was on his bike throughout. As a result, the fight failed to deliver and the Manchester crowd had little reason to get excited.
“I felt I won the fight,” said Parker (24-0, 18 knockouts) in his post-fight interview. “I’m very happy to take the title back to New Zealand and he ran most of the time. His movement was really good but I applied the pressure and landed the harder punches.
“I feel that this (win) opens up big fights here (in the U.K.). We’re excited to come back for bigger fights in the future.”
There were no surprises at the opening bell. Fury (20-1, 10 KOs) moved and popped the jab as Parker pursued with power shots. It was the challenger who was more effective, however, and that pattern remained throughout the early sessions as the visitor missed wildly.
A clash of heads opened a cut around Fury’s eye in the fourth and the damage seemed to invigorate Parker. He crossed over two big right hands in the fifth and although Fury rode them well, these were scoring shots and Fury’s offensive effort was inept by comparison.
Fury was attempting to win with ring generalship and movement. There was little in the way of clean, effective punching from either side, but Parker’s shots carried more weight and when he did land flush, he made a strong physical impression.
Nothing changed down the stretch, but at the end of 12 rounds, I made Fury the winner by a score of 115-113. There is no way I can justify a 118-110 score, but what else is new?
The victory is good news for Parker, but the warning signs are out once again. The 25-year-old boxer-puncher has plenty of physical tools but he switches off in fights as evidenced by his awful showing against late-replacement Razvan Cojanu in May. This performance was also unconvincing.
Unification showdowns with Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder, should they win their upcoming fights, could be lucrative options going forward. Parker, however, must refine his game if he is to be given a serious chance of defeating either man.
Fury, younger cousin of Tyson, was in no way out of his depth. He neutralized Parker and controlled large portions of the contest. It just wasn’t enough. The Englishman could do with some more experience at the top level before pursuing another title shot.
Parker weighed in at 245 pounds, with Fury at 234.
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing