Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker put on the sort of fight pretty much everyone was hoping to see, with Joyce putting a valiant and tough Parker away in the 11th round.
Joyce (15-0, 14 KO) broke Parker down over the course of the fight, but the New Zealand native and former WBO titleholder kept himself in it, too, by frequently buying time, coming back to land clean shots of his own, and keeping Joyce from totally selling out.
After a couple of pretty good rounds in the ninth and 10th from Parker (30-3, 21 KO), Joyce looked to start fast in round 11, and it paid off. By that point, Parker had been on a sort of admirable desperation play for a few rounds, and when Joyce landed a clean left hook, Parker tumbled to the canvas. Though he did his best to get up (and did make it to his feet), he was counted out by the referee.
The official time of the knockout was 1:03 of round 11.
The win is the best of Joyce’s career so far, in that Parker is a top 10 heavyweight, his most usefully experienced opponent, and actually fought pretty well himself. It also gives Joyce the interim WBO title, and fully confirms him as a serious contender, and when you watch him fight and the way he eats good punches as if they didn’t even land, then just keeps marching forward with good offense of his own, it’s hard not to see him as a tough night for anyone in the heavyweight ranks.
Joyce vs Parker highlights
Amanda Serrano UD-10 Sarah Mahfoud
Serrano’s win gives her Mahfoud’s IBF title, so Serrano now has the WBC, IBF, and WBO belts at 126 lbs, leaving only Erika Cruz’s WBA title not in her possession, and the plan will be to do that next and go for undisputed.
Scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 99-92 for Serrano. I had it closer at 96-94, but it was a clear 96-94, if that makes sense, and I could see it a round wider, too. It’s not so much that Mahfoud (11-1, 3 KO) did anything unexpected, but Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KO) had one of the worst and certainly most uninspired performances of her relevant, championship-level career.
It’s also not that Serrano fought poorly so much as she just looked in the second half of the fight like she was fully and entirely on cruise control, and that shaded some rounds Mahfoud’s way. Even in the 10th and final round, when Serrano tried to turn the heat back on and come out and boss the round, it didn’t work; she’d disengaged and couldn’t get back “on” fully, and Mahfoud was able to land shots and match the work rate.
But a clean win for Serrano, who still looks like clearly the best fighter at this weight. This was a far cry from the Serrano we saw against Katie Taylor at 135, though. Sometimes top fighters have off-nights and still get through it with the W, and this was one for Serrano.
Undercard results and highlights
- Nathan Heaney Tech. UD-5 Jack Flatley: The fight was stopped at 2:05 of the fifth round after a brutal clash of heads opened a nasty cut over Heaney’s right eye. Scores were 49-46, 49-46, and 50-45. I had it 49-47, as I don’t love scoring partial rounds where I didn’t think someone had clearly won it by then, so the last one was a 10-10 for me. Heaney (16-0, 6 KO) is 33 so the upside really isn’t there, but he’s a ticket-seller and valuable on these Warren cards. Flatley falls to 19-3-1 (4 KO).
- Anthony Cacace SD-12 Michael Magnesi: Scores were 116-112 Magnesi and then 116-112 and 117-111 for Cacace. Bad Left Hook had it 115-113 for Cacace. Good, evenly-matched fight, and a lot of respect and sportsmanship on display when it was over from both sides. This is basically European level (it was for the IBO allegedly “world” title, which Magnesi held coming in), but it was good European level, two solid fighters who put on a nice fight. Crowd shockingly quiet, just awful. Queensberry undercards may be the new standard for “quiet crowd.” Take that, Japan. Scoring here may seem wild, but I think it may have largely depended how you scored the first six rounds. I had it 3-3 after six, but almost every one of those rounds could have gone either way. If you gave the bulk, five or all of them, to Magnesi, it’s easy to get to a 116-112 Magnesi card. For me, Cacace took over in the second half, and had four straight rounds between the eighth and 11th where I thought he did the clearly better work.
- Ekow Essuman UD-12 Samuel Antwi: The win keeps Essuman undefeated at 18-0 (7 KO), and keeps the British and Commonwealth belts around his waist. Not at the same time, mind you. But also, at the same time. Scores were 115-114, 116-113, and 117-112. Bad Left Hook had it 116-112 for Essuman on our unofficial card. For the most part, he was just a little better, did the more noticeable work, out-worked Antwi (14-2, 6 KO), and though the Antwi corner felt they’d won, I can’t see it. Essuman is 33 and has dreams of winning a world title, but just being an honest outside party, those dreams are going to remain dreams, though they are the dreams he should be dreaming.
- Mark Heffron TKO-1 Martin Bulacio: Nothing fight. Heffron (29-2-1, 23 KO) just fought in July, beating Lennox Clarke for the British and Commonwealth titles at 168, and is a truly quality domestic fighter. Bulacio (10-7, 7 KO) is just a 33-year-old guy from Argentina who has now lost three in a row and six of his last nine. Nothing proven here, nothing useful about it.
- Raven Chapman UD-8 Jorgelina Guanini: Scores were 77-75, 78-74, 79-73. I think the 77-75 best reflects the fight, where the 28-year-old Chapman (4-0, 2 KO) started fast but faded a bit late. No problem with her winning, though, I think she deserved it. Guanini (10-5-2, 1 KO) has become very familiar to diehard UK boxing fans and those who watch UK shows and shows involving UK fighters — she’s fought a handful of Brit prospects, is what I’m getting at, her last three have all been against them. She lost narrowly to Ellie Scotney, beat Stevi Levy, and now loses to Chapman. She’s a tough, solid fighter who is fighting well above her natural weight at 126 and can still handle herself nicely as a gatekeeper, one who can actually keep a gate.