News September 2017

Parker keeps title but loses momentum


By @John_Evans79

There is an common adage in boxing that to be certain of victory, a challenger needs to rip the title away from a champion. It’s an adage I have never understood, preferring to believe that as soon as the first bell rings, any title becomes vacant. Whoever wins the fight also takes home the belt.

For nine rounds of last night’s fight between Joseph Parker and Hughie Fury, a portion of the richest prize in sport hung tantalisingly within the grasp of both men but neither was willing to reach out and grab it. Of all the divisions in boxing, the heavyweight class is where the rewards on offer far outweigh the risks required.

With Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder set to defend their respective titles before the end of 2017 and seemingly on a collision course, Parker and Fury found themselves fighting in the perfect conditions. The duo are a way away from competing with the division’s elite, but an impressive showing last night would have provided some much needed momentum to a run towards an eventual unification clash with the winner. An impressive victory would have been an important staging post in either fighters development.

As it was, the evening must ultimately be seen as a wasted opportunity for both.

Fury (20-1, 10 KO’s) will wake up this morning feeling like the victim of an injustice and it would be easy to understand his frustration. He left the ring with barely a mark on him and spent most of the fight with Parker at arms length. The WBO heavyweight title was so close that he could almost touch it but instead Fury, 23, touched Parker with the jab and touched Parker with the right hand.

Allowing the plodding Parker to creep an inch or two further into range before unloading his shots and spinning or sliding away would have involved adding an extra element of risk to the foundations of a solid gameplan, but it would have also added weight to his punches and opened up more opportunities to land the right uppercut, which ultimately proved to be Fury’s most dangerous weapon. Instead, Fury chose to stay safe. Time and again, some impressive footwork put Fury in perfect position to make Parker pay for some woefully inaccurate potshots but he consistently resisted the temptation and reverted back to range and his jab.

Parker (24-0, 18 KO’s) can count himself fortunate to be returning to New Zealand with his heavyweight title. For the most part he was made to look terribly slow and predictable. His reticence in committing himself to any sustained pressure was puzzling over the first third of the fight and infuriating as the contest progressed. To the 25 year old’s credit, once the realisation dawned on him that the judges scorecards posed a far more serious threat to him than Fury’s punches, he upped his workrate and did just about enough over the final third of the fight to earn a two point victory on my card. I scored the fight 115-113 in Parker’s favour but was left with the impression that Fury could have coasted to victory had he been just a fraction more aggressive.

Rocky Young got the scoring about right with his 114-114 but he was over ruled by Terry O’Connor and John Madfis, who each scored the fight 118-110 for Parker. Following last weekend’s farcical scorecards in Las Vegas, the energy to attempt to fathom how professional judges can return such ridiculous scorecards has evaporated.

Parker remains undefeated and clings on to his WBO heavyweight belt despite his third consecutive unconvincing display. Fury must return with a little more menace in his movement.

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