Parker v Massey: Former heavyweight champion takes flattering points decision over rival at Manchester

Former world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker has stumbled to an unconvincing points victory over British rival Jack Massey, as he attempts to rebuild his flagging title hopes.

Enjoying a considerable weight advantage over the converted cruiserweight, the Kiwi fighter was unable to finish his rival over 10 rounds, relying on the judges to pad his winning record to 31-3.

Returning to the ring for the first time since his knockout defeat to Joe Joyce last September, Parker was given a sterner test than he'd have liked against 29-year-old Massey.

Joseph Parker against Jack Massey.
Joseph Parker against Jack Massey. Photo credit: Getty Images

On paper, Parker won every round on the judges' scorecards, but was left visibly frustrated by his inability to land a knockout blow on his smaller opponent.

After dominating the early rounds, Parker was unable to put Massey away, as the Brit came back at the Kiwi in the middle rounds.

And while both fighters threw the kitchen sink at each other in the final moments of the last round, neither could claim a knockout.

Parker insists he wasn't surprised by Massey's performance on his heavyweight debut.

"We knew he was going to come prepared and ready, and he put on a good performance," he said. "He was moving a lot, which made a bit difficult.

"I think, if he came forward, it would have been a different fight, but congrats to Jack for taking it all 10 rounds."

Parker was aided when Massey was deducted a point in the eighth round, after repeated warnings for holding.

The Kiwi's performance now also sees him targeted by other rising heavyweight contenders. Frazer Clarke, who won earlier on the same card, used the post-fight television coverage to state his intentions to square off against Parker.

"After that performance, I fancy my chances," Clarke said. "I think it will be a good fight down the line, but he definitely did well.

"I'm up for it. Everyone knows me, I'm game as a badger.

"I've got a lot of respect for Joseph Parker and what he's done, but it's about time I started giving myself the credit."