Joseph Parker gained a more comprehensive victory over Derek Chisora to close the chapter on their rivalry after an action-packed heavyweight rematch in Manchester.
Parker won their first meeting on a disputed split points decision in May but the former WBO champion left little room for doubt this time around, with Chisora taking a count in the fourth round. Chisora was put down by vicious uppercuts in each of the seventh and eighth rounds but rallied in the closing stages to hear the final bell.
The New Zealander was unsurprisingly given the nod by all three judges at the AO Arena – although scores of 115-110, 115-111 and 114-112 were perhaps a little closer than many anticipated. Parker retains the WBO intercontinental belt and stays on track for a second tilt at a world title.
“What a fight. Derek brings it from the first round all the way to the 12th,” Parker told told the BBC afterwards. There were occasions when Chisora looked to be out on his feet and on more than one occasion referee Howard Foster seemed poised to step in but the British veteran bravely kept on swinging and had pockets of success.
This was a 12th defeat in 44 fights for the 37-year-old, who has been advised to retire by his conqueror. “Personally I would love to see [Chisora] walk away. He’s given boxing everything he has and honestly he’s a credit to the sport,” Parker said. “He keeps coming at you, it’s crazy when he’s in fights.”
The first meeting between the pair, held behind closed doors because of Covid-19, got off to a frenzied start when Parker was put down by an overhand right within the first 10 seconds before recovering and finishing the stronger fighter. There was no such drama in the opening seconds this time but this was a more riveting affair.
Chisora absorbed a couple of right uppercuts early on, but another in the fourth sent the Londoner staggering back into the ropes. The referee, Howard Foster, administered a count but Chisora hit back to banish any thoughts of a swift finish to the fight. He weathered more heavy blows in the sixth and was put down by another uppercut in the seventh but once again came roaring back.
Parker had to cover up in the final few seconds of the sixth round as his opponent unleashed a furious assault, but he sent Chisora to the canvas again in the seventh, following up a glancing uppercut with a push. Parker began to tire after failing to finish his opponent, and Chisora looked the fresher of the two down the stretch.
The pair continued to trade some fearsome punches but Parker had done enough to win, with the standing count and two knockdowns ultimately proving decisive. He improves his record to 30 wins from 32 professional contests, with his two defeats coming in 2018 against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
After the fight, Chisora brought his opponent a peace offering in the form of fast food and offered a blunt response to suggestions he could call time on his career. “Fuck retirement,” he tweeted. “I’ll be back in the summer.”