Joseph Parker won his New Zealand showdown with Junior Fa today in Auckland, taking a decision win on scores of 115-113, 117-111, and 119-109.
Bad Left Hook scored the fight 115-113 for Parker, and that last official score was probably a good bit too wide.
Parker (28-2, 21 KO) was definitely the more aggressive fighter for the majority of the bout, but after a sharp and rather fiery looking start from both, the heavyweights settled into a fight that featured a bit too much clinching — largely from Fa (19-1, 10 KO) — for most tastes, and a lack of clean punching didn’t help matters from an entertainment standpoint, either.
It wasn’t a truly dull fight, at least in that you’ll certainly see worse all the time, but it never kicked off into something special, either. It was nice to hear a full live crowd back at boxing, though that might turn out to have been a mistake with Auckland going back into “level three” lockdown, which was actually announced during the show. Basically, this got done as it was at the last possible moment.
“That was a tough fight. It was a great fight. I think it taught me a great lesson,” Fa said. “I didn’t get caught by too many punches, the cut was from the elbow and forearm. I felt good, this is great for my confidence, and it was an honor to be in there with a world-ranked heavyweight.”
“It was a lot closer than we expected, and he put on a great performance. Now we’ll see who’s next for us,” Parker said. “There’s a lot of things we have to go back and work on.”
There seems to be a good chance that Parker will now try to reschedule a fight with Derek Chisora, which was scheduled for 2019 but wound up not happening. There has been openly expressed interest on both sides to do that next.
- Hemi Ahio KO-7 Julius Long: Not often you see fights where someone has a 13-inch height advantage and a 17-inch reach advantage, but that’s what we had here. 43-year-old Long (18-25-1, 14 KO) had lost a six-round decision to Ahio a little less than two years ago, but they rematched because, well, gotta fight someone, I guess. Ahio (17-0, 12 KO) is a 30-year-old guy who has some power in his hands for sure, and he’s tough and all that, but ultimately he’s limited. Not really a prospect, not really a contender. Small for heavyweight anymore at 6’0”, 230 or so, with a 73-inch reach. He got officially knocked down in the fourth round here, but Long — the 7’1”, 330-pound “Towering Inferno” — had nothing after that, spending the rest of the fight leaning against the ropes because he was completely, truly out of gas. That led to him taking a lot of brutal shots to the head, and finally late in the seventh round he got unnecessarily crumbled to the canvas for the KO. Long appeared to be OK after the fight, he was as exhausted as anything. He’s a big, tough man, has had a 20-year pro boxing career, by all accounts is an affable, enjoyable sort of guy. He got a paycheck here and gave what effort he could, but this fight got ridiculous around the fifth round.
- David Nyika TKO-1 Jesse Maio: An absolute nothing pro debut for Nyika, a cruiserweight who will be competing at the Tokyo Olympics as a heavyweight (201 lbs), if the Tokyo Olympics happen this summer. In this one, Nyika threw a right hand, Maio (3-1, 1 KO) ducked in as the much shorter man, and it clipped Maio on the back of the head. It wasn’t intentional and it also wasn’t a massive blow — I mean, I know, easy for me to say, but Maio was clear-headed enough to argue with the referee from the canvas while the count when on, then continue arguing after the count was over. All in all it went 29 seconds and everyone booed.
- Nik Charalampous D-6 Panuve Helu: Cruiserweight fight, plenty of controversy with this one. Charalampous (19-3-1, 9 KO) probably should have been disqualified sometime in the final two rounds. He did get a point taken in the fifth for repeatedly and blatantly hitting Helu (12-2-2, 11 KO) with obvious, targeted low blows, but then the referee just went back to warning him, over and and over and over again. There was a point about halfway from the fifth round on that Charalampous was doing more illegal stuff than legal, it was really kind of amazing. Helu hurt Charalampous repeatedly in the fight, but by the sixth and final round, Helu’s testicles had been battered enough that he’d totally run out of gas. Scores here were 57-57, and then two cards of 58-56, one in each man’s favor. BLH had the fight 58-55 for Helu, and it might be worth wondering if all three judges had a 10-10 round somewhere, or if they simply did not deduct the point from Charalampous that was called by the referee in round five.
- Jerome Pampellone TKO-1 Antz Amouta: A quick way to start the card, as Pampellone goes to 3-0 (2 KO) with a body shot stoppage of the debuting Amouta at 2:57 of the opening round. It wasn’t a single body shot, really, as Pampellone had been whacking Amouta pretty good the entire first round, mixing shots up, easily getting the better of things, and then a body shot clearly hurt Amouta badly, sent him reeling, and Pampellone flurried away until Amouta went down and was done. Pampellone is 24, weighed about 180 for this fight so 175 might be his real pro future. He also still has his sets sigh on fighting at the Tokyo Olympics if those happen.