Joseph Parker kept himself in the world title mix, beating Derek Chisora in a rematch today in Manchester, England.
Parker (30-2, 21 KO) won on scores of 114-112, 115-111, and 115-110, but those were tighter than we saw it — Bad Left Hook’s score was 119-106 for Parker — and tighter than our readers and commenters watching along had, too.
None of this is meant to discredit Derek Chisora, who was officially down three times in the fight (though it was more two and a shove legitimately) but utterly refused to be stopped in an incredible display of determination and just plain grit. Every time it seemed Parker may have had Chisora ready to go, Chisora would back himself into a corner and dare Parker to finish him. Parker never did, and each time it was bait, as Chisora looked to land something big when Parker did throw.
You could arguably say that Parker’s finishing wasn’t up to snuff here, but Chisora is also an unreal fighter, a man whose will is just unbreakable. You have to really knock Derek Chisora out to stop Derek Chisora, and through 24 rounds — in very different fights — Joseph Parker just was not able to do that, but he did win both times.
“He was one tough guy. Honestly, I felt like it was a continuation of the first fight. He never stopped coming until the end,” Parker said of Chisora. “I felt stronger than the first fight. It was important to start strong from the beginning. I followed the game plan as best I could, but as you can see, there are still improvements to be made.”
Asked if he felt he “let Chisora off the hook” a couple of times, Parker replied, “I just rushed it and didn’t sit down on my punches. I got too excited. A lot of practice to be done in the next camp.”
Parker also called Chisora “a credit to the sport of boxing” after spending 24 rounds with him, and you could tell all night, during and after the fight, that there is sincere respect between the two fighters, and that Parker appreciates for sure how tough Derek Chisora really is, even more than just saying so after it was allover.
“It was a brilliant fight,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “Derek Chisora is not human. How that fight went 12 rounds, I’ll never know. It was a massive win for Joseph Parker. There was zero quit in Derek Chisora. This is the toughest sport in the world and both those guys deserve huge credit.”
“Derek Chisora’s a prizefighter, I’m sure he’ll be back, but Joseph Parker wants another shot at the world title,” Hearn said when asked what would come next for the fighters. “There is a queue, but he’s positioned himself really well. Maybe a final eliminator against Filip Hrgovic with the IBF. The career is alive and kicking for Joseph Parker. This was a brilliant way to end 2021.”