Joseph Parker makes Matchroom debut with tenth round TKO win over Alex Leapai
Heavyweight contender Joseph Parker battered Alex Leapai before the fight was finally stopped in round 10 Saturday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
With the win, Parker improves 26-2 (20 knockouts).
It was Parker’s first fight under the Matchroom Boxing Promotions. Parker, who resides in Auckland, New Zealand, has not fought since his third round knockout victory over Alexander Flores in Dec. 15.
The fight Saturday night between Parker and Leapai was an all-Samoa battle, but it was all Parker from the opening bell.
The taller and stronger Parker was the aggressor, landing combinations at will to the head of Leapai. Parker walked Leapai down, forcing him to fight off the ropes with little success.
Leapai, who was unbeaten in his previous three bouts after losing three in a row, attempted to fight back, but was not able to mount any significant rally. Leapai continued to be game, but began to tire by the middle rounds.
Sensing Leapai was beginning to slow down, Parker pressed the action, letting his hands go more with more aggression and connecting to the head, further bruising Parker’s face in the process. Leapai continued to fight back, but he fought in spurts as his punch output dropped with each round.
The end came in round 10 as Parker landed a combination to the head, prompting Ricky Gonzalez to step in and stop the bout at 2:18. Leapai protested the stoppage.
After the fight, Parker was glad to get the rounds, but more than he was expecting.
“I haven’t been int he ring in over half a year,” said Parker, who once held the WBO heavyweight title. “I needed the round, but I didn’t expect to get that many. He’s tough. He has a hard head. I just had to patient and land my shots.”
The 27-year-old Parker, who is ranked No. 8 by The Ring, is also ranked No. 6 by the WBC. Parker is open to fighting any of the world titleholders in the division, but is eyeing two specific fighters for now.
“I want to avenge my two losses, those were against (Dillian) Whyte and (Anthony) Joshua,” said Parker, who now trains in Las Vegas. “I’ll also fight (Andy) Ruiz. If he thinks he won easy against me, he can try and prove it again.”
Leapai, who resides is Logan City, Australia, drops to 32-8-4 (26 KOs). He is best known for his knockout loss to Wladimir Klitschko in April of 2014.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing