Joseph Parker survives knockdown, beats Dereck Chisora by split decision
Friday’s drama was over ring walks. Saturday’s drama was much more entertaining as Joseph Parker overcame a first round knockdown to clip Dereck Chisora by split decision at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Judge Howard Foster scored the fight 115-113 for Chisora but was overruled by Grzegorz Molenda and Andrew Bell, who had it 116-111 and 115-113, respectively, all for Parker, who picked up his fifth consecutive win following a 12-round unanimous decision loss to Dillian Whyte in July 2018.
The bout was initially in jeopardy after a dispute over the order of the ring walks with Chisora threatening to pull out of the fight unless he walked to the ring second. After initially refusing to participate in a coin toss, the 39-year-old eventually caved.
Following Saturday’s result, Chisora fell to 0-2 on the weekend, losing both the coin flip and the fight, but gave himself an advantage in the fight early on.
Just eight seconds into the action, Chisora landed an overhand right behind the ear that sent Parker to the canvas. The former titlist recovered nicely, though, dictating the pace the rest of the frame.
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“It was a tough fight,” Parker said. “I got caught right at the beginning and just had to dig deep and stay focused and follow the plan we had in place.”
But it was easier said than done.
Chisora roughed up Parker for much of the fight. He was warned by referee Steve Gray for landing behind the head in both the second and third rounds as Parker attempted to work behind his jab. Late in the third, both fighters were trading shots behind the head, with no warning from Gray.
He was understandably disappointed by the outcome.
“Aww, man. You don’t understand — I’m beyond getting upset right now,” an emotional Chisora said as he wiped the sweat off his face. “It’s just difficult.
“I train hard, I fight, I put the pressure on. I bring everything, and this is the treatment I get from boxing. I think [the judges] don’t like me.”
The London-based Chisora forced Parker to exert more from the fuel tank in round four with a grueling body attack. He continued to move forward in round five, bobbing and weaving his way to the inside, and walked his adversary to the ropes.
Parker (29-2, 21 knockouts), 29, of New Zealand, who won the vacant WBO heavyweight title with a controversial majority decision over future titlist Andy Ruiz Jr. in December 2016, had a better performance in round six. He landed a strong left hook, but Chisora did not appear to be bothered and continued to come forward at Parker.
“Dereck is a very tough opponent,” he added. “He came forward and put pressure on me from the beginning [and] threw big bombs.”
However, as the rounds went on, fatigue set in for the 37-year-old Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs), who has dropped three of his last six fights.
The seventh round served as a turning point for Parker. He capitalized on Chisora’s condition and sent him across the ring with a right hand.
In round eight, Parker had more distance to work with as Chisora continued to slow down. He had success with the jab and connected with a three-punch combination with Chisora against the ropes.
However, late in the round, Chisora went back on the front foot, looking to land with shots to the body.
Parker landed with a strong one-two combination on Chisora in the 10th round, but the Brit remained on his feet.
Heading into round 12, Chisora was urged by Hall of Fame trainer and former champion Buddy McGirt not to get careless but not to fall asleep either.
Chisora landed the first eye-catching shot of the final round with a right hand over the top, but Parker then found a home for the counter left hook and followed up with another one before allowing Chisora off the ropes as they fought to the final bell.
“I feel like the boxing skills [made the difference] from the middle rounds towards the end,” Parker stated. “That was a very close fight.”
Parker, who lost his WBO title to unified titlist Anthony Joshua in a lopsided unanimous decision in March 2018, believes becoming a two-time heavyweight champion is very achievable.
“I just have to get back to training,” he explained. “There’s a lot of things I have to work on. I had a good plan in place, and always like my other fights, I swayed away from it.
“But I just have to get back with [Andy Lee] and work on a few things.”
Parker also added that he was willing to face Chisora in an immediate rematch.
“We can do it [again] next fight,” he said.
Chisora, however, was in no smiling mood.
“I’m clearly upset because this is horrible. I train hard every day. I give everything in the gym, and when I put it all in there, this is the results I get.
“If he wants to give me a rematch, I’ll take the rematch easy, but this is unbelievable. Most people [thought] I won the fight.”