Boxing: Impressive Junior Fa buoyant after 'exposing' Joseph Parker

Kiwi heavyweight Junior Fa was buoyant in the wake of his first loss as a professional, confident he'd done enough in his defeat to Joseph Parker to improve his standing on the international stage.

Fa pushed Parker to the limit in their bout at Auckland's Spark Arena on Saturday, but ultimately fell to a 119-109, 115-113 and 117-111 unanimous decision loss.

The 31-year-old City Kickboxing fighter admitted he didn't deserve to have his hand raised, but believed he matched the former WBO champion in a highly competitive contest.

"I've made myself known to the world," Fa said. "I've exposed Joseph Parker.

"I exposed a lot of his weaknesses. I felt I was the better boxer, but he played the game better.

"I felt great in there. I don't think I Iooked out of place at all.

"I think I may have brought his team's confidence down a bit."

Parker was desperate for a dominant performance to reassert himself as a world title contender, but struggled to contend with Fa's footwork and put together meaningful combinations.

Fa confessed Parker's big fight experience and ring generalship ultimately saw him through to victory, adamant that his opponent's camp would want nothing to do with a rematch.

"He was smarter in the in between minutes," Fa said. "But they will be doing everything they can to avoid [a rematch]."

Trainer Eugene Bareman said it was Parker's attention to detail that saw him prevail on the judges' scorecards.

"The nice, clean shots were very even," said Bareman. "I  probably had Junior up on those. 

"But it was the work in between from Joseph that wasn't necessarily hurting Junior, but what it was  effective in doing is separating the two.

"If the judges have to differentiate the fighters, that's what they look for. Joseph used his experience and did that, and got the edge by doing that."

Parker's win gives him a 3-2 edge in his ledger against Fa that extends from their encounters on the amateur stage, although a frustrated Fa believes he still has the wood on his adversary.

'I know when he was progressing in his pro career people were putting him up here. Deep down, I always know I've got his number," he said.

"But he played it better than me tonight."

Parker now seems likely to proceed with his pre-fight plans to take on Brit Dereck Chisora, while Fa - currently ranked No. 5 in the WBO heavyweight rankings - will now have to wait for the dust to settle to see what kind of impact his first loss will have on that standing.

As manager Mark Keddell points out, securing high profile fights in the current climate is a difficult proposition.

"It's pretty clear that it's hard to get big fights at the moment," said Keddell. "But Junior got seen by a whole lot of people. It was his to win.

"But we're really proud of the journey and the adversity he's overcome."