MANCHESTER – Joseph Parker overcame a first-round knockdown to defeat Derek Chisora by split decision following a brutal heavyweight battle in Manchester.
The New Zealander had a disastrous start, hitting the canvas in the opening seconds, and Parker showed grit along with his classy combinations to secure victory with tallies of 115-113 and 116-111, with Chisora receiving a score of 115-113.
Chisora had been convinced by his mother to go ahead with the fight, amid a row over the ring walks, but his desire for battle could not be questioned in a dramatic opening round.
Parker was floored after just seven seconds by a clubbing right hand from a rampant Chisora.
Charging forward, Chisora unloaded right hands with savage intent in the second, then sent Parker slumping to the ropes with a looping hook in the third.
Parker was being punished, a hurtful introduction to Chisora’s ferocity, which resumed with thudding body shots in the fourth.
A looping right hand, the shot that forced the knockdown, prompted Parker to flinch in the fifth before Chisora rattled in punches around the belt line.
But Parker, at last, started to stall Chisora with clean right hands in the sixth round.
A flurry of punches from Parker seemed to briefly stun Chisora in the seventh and they shared a shootout at the end of the eighth, swinging in wild hooks.
With Chisora gasping wearily for air, Parker picked him off with jabs in the ninth, while the Kiwi countered sharply in the 10th.
Parker remained in command in the 11th, ripping in a crisp right hand, and Chisora’s rugged attack in the final round was not enough to avoid defeat.