Surprising to some, expected to pundits and those with a deeper knowledge of boxing – but Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker put on one of the boxing spectacles of 2022 in Manchester.
Britain’s Joyce knocked out the New Zealand heavyweight in the 11th round, sending a thunderbolt “out of nowhere” with a left straight that knocked the huge Parker completely helpless. Joseph tried and got up, but after the count, he couldn’t go on. He had given up too much to stay in the match until the 9th round, where he was bombarded and outplayed for long stretches.
But it was in rounds #9 and #10 that he counterattacked, was more active and scored stronger and cleaner shots. And when the scales were even and even Parker looked like he could turn the tide, came the powerful left that ended it all.
The hall was in euphoria, and Tyson Fury, who is an old friend of Joyce, was also excited from the first rows. The Briton wins the title in the WBO version (with interim status) and automatically jumps to first place among the contenders to fight for the titles with their holder Oleksandr Usyk.
“Are you ready, Usyk!”, breathed the winner with the microphone in hand while still in the ring. He is 37 years old, having turned pro too late (at 31) and for a long time had to endure criticism that he fights with average and not particularly quality opponents.
He had 14 wins in 14 matches before last night, 13 of them by knockout.
Now the silver medalist from the Rio 2016 Olympics (after that he went to professional boxing) is 15/15, with 14 stops of the boxer opposite.
Parker suffered a third loss and once again looked like a man lacking the class, the confidence in the crucial moments to truly be at the top of the division. He went to a title fight with Anthony Joshua 4 years ago and lost it by unanimous decision after 12 rounds, then he was also defeated by Dillian Whyte and until 2018 he did not lose.