Parker v Chisora: Kiwi heavyweight revives world title dream with dominant victory

Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker has resurrected his world championship career with a convincing rematch victory over British archrival Derek Chisora at Manchester.

After one of the most purposeful performances of his career, the Aucklander emerged with a unanimous points decision that probably deserved a knockout against a lesser fighter. 

Weighing 4.5kg heavier than their first meeting in May, when he was felled within seconds and barely survived a points decision, Parker immediately went on the frontfoot and shook his opponent with a crashing right in the opening round.

With both boxers throwing massive blows through the initial exchanges, the encounter seemed unlikely to go the distance and Parker consolidated his advantage with powerful combinations. 

By the fourth round, Chisora was barely hanging on and took a standing count, but refused to fall, finishing with a flurry of wild punches.

A criticism of Parker's past performances has been his lack of killer instinct, but this time, he threw everything at the Brit, trying to find the shot that would finally finish him.

Chisora showed his famed durability, taking Parker's best on the chin, continuing to swing lustily and occasionally landing forcefully.

In the seventh, Parker caught him with a right uppercut that had him on his knee, but Chisora still found a way to survive.

With two rounds remaining, trainer Andy Lee told Parker he had the fight won on points, but needed to close it out without giving his rival a one-punch chance.

Incredibly, the contest did go the distance, albeit with Parker clearly the better man on the day. Their last meeting was inside an empty stadium, but the return of crowds from COVID-19 lockdown resulted in an exciting spectacle.

"He is one tough guy," says Parker. "I felt like that was a continuation of our first fight and he just never stopped coming until the end.

"We practiced and practiced and practiced that jab-uppercut - didn't finish it with the hook, but what a Christmas present.

"I felt a lot stronger than the first fight, and it was important to start strong and not be negative from the beginning.

"I followed the gameplan as best I can, but there are still a lot of improvements to be made by continuing to work with Andy after this." 

The three judges all scored the fight for Parker - 115-110, 115-111, 114-112 - and Chisora's future as a contender must now be over.

"He's a credit to the sport of boxing," says Parker. "The crowd went mental when he came out - they all came out to support him."

The Kiwi can now look forward to bigger paydays, with unbeaten Briton Joe Joyce mentioned as his next opponent on the path towards a title fight.

"You can see a lot of improvement from the last fight," says Lee. "He fought a great fight - he managed the fight perfectly.

"There were mistakes, but that's a good thing, because we can work on them. I'm so proud of him - he's dedicated himself like never before and I think you can see that."