Joe Joyce Announces Arrival Into The Big Time With 11th Round Knockout of Parker

AO Arena, Manchester

Joe Joyce produced a career-best performance and in the process put the heavyweight division on notice with a dominant and brutal defeat of former WBO world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker securing an eleventh-round knockout. Joyce in the process now holds the WBO interim world heavyweight title and puts himself into a prime position to challenge for the full version of the title currently held by unified world heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk. Parker surprised many at ringside with how he managed to survive for so long after a competitive opening four rounds which saw Joyce stunned briefly by an overhand right in the second round which would become a pattern in justifying the moniker for Joyce “The Juggernaut”.

The opening round of twelve was a cagey affair which saw Parker and Joyce exchange jabs and the typical feeling-out process with Parker targeting the body early with Joyce just falling short with his opening salvos of the contest. The second saw Joyce beginning to show his power early rocking Parker back to the ropes on multiple occasions and causing reddening around the left eye of Parker but the Kiwi native still manages to land shots of his own particularly the left hook.

The third see’s a good left hand by Joyce early in the round and gets the crowd going before he works a few shots to the body.Parker responds with a good left-right combination but a strong flurry by Joyce appears to have his opponent struggling. Joyce continues to work the jab well, Parker manages to suck it up and then gets a decent right-hand shot to the body right on the bell and the crowd is on their feet.

The fourth see’s parker start fast and catches Joyces square on with a shot which would have put any heavyweight to the canvas but Joyce sucks it up and keeps coming inserting pressure onto Parker demoralizing the former world champion. Round five sees Joyce keeping on the front foot as Parker tries to find time to relax in the round after a strong effort previously. Joyce pressures Parker onto the ropes and targets the body but Parker fires back with check hooks and manoeuvres back to the centre in a close round.

The sixth Joyce is straight on the attack with a couple of strong shots to the head before mixing it up with some damaging hits to the body and Parker looks hurt on multiple occasions with the punch of the round a right uppercut just before the bell.

Round seven was pretty much on brutal reflection where things started to change in favor for Joyce. Parker landed some huge right hooks, straight rights which only seemed to put Joe Joyce into gear and stayed firmly in top gear for the rest of the contest. The final exchanges saw Joyce pour forward with intelligent pressure and throw hooks with Parker on the ropes which in the process opened up a big cut on the eye of Parker. The eighth frame saw Joyce work from range and landed some heavy one-twos and singles before landing a powerful left to the body in the final thirty seconds which took the wind out of the sails from Parker.

Round nine saw Parker fight bravely trying to fight himself back in and had lots of success with a good flurry of upper-cuts and cute right hooks around the guard of Joyce but didn't leave a dint in his armour of Joyce. The tenth was a tiring affair with both men looking tired now and the punches aren't quite as telling as in previous rounds.Joyce glances Parker with a swinging right hand and then connects with a couple of body shots.

The eleventh round was the end with Joyce pressuring and catching Parker at will and backing him into a corner with Parker trying to get out, Joyce, landed a huge left hook which sent Parker down hard and heavy onto the canvas sending the AO Arena into raptures. Despite Parker’s best and valiant efforts, Referee Steve Gray ultimately counted out the New Zealander to hand him the first stoppage defeat of his career.

The Co-Main Amanda Serrano added to her large and ever growing collection of world title belts as she unified the WBC, WBO and IBF (plus the IBO) featherweight titles with a wide unanimous decision over Sarah Mahfoud on the Joyce-Parker card in Manchester. The affair was dominated by Serrano yet lacked any explosiveness in comparison to her fight of the year contender with Katie Taylor last time out. The contest went the full scheduled ten rounds and saw judge Victor Loughlin score the contest 99-92,  Steve Gray and Michael Alexander both had it closer, 97-93.

Nathan Heaney vs Jack Flatley came to an abrupt ending due to a cut sustained by Heaney following a clash of heads in the 5th round. The fight was starting to take shape which was scheduled for ten rounds contesting Heaney’s IBO international middleweight title when the head clash dropped Heaney to the canvas which saw referee Steve Gray immediately take Heaney to the doctor who waved off the contest straight away. Flately was more than holding his own despite being the smaller man had a great second round following a tight opening round before Heaney started to come more and more into the contest and finding his rhythm till the incident. Judges Michael Alexander and Pawel Kardyni had it 49-46 and Benoit Roussel scored it 50-45. Heaney improves to 16-0 while Flately goes to 19-3-1.

Anthony Cacace took a big huge step in finally fulfilling his potential in claiming the IBO World super-featherweight title in defeating holder Michael Magnesi of Italy via Split decision which caused some amusement ringside. A fight of two halves in how it played out with the first six rounds being very competitive with Magnesi launching for Cacace from the opening bell with pressure but Cacace was able to counter particularly with the right upper-cut stopping Magnesi in his tracks in the opening two rounds but remained on his feet both times.

The halfway point saw Cacace take control with the pace of the contest with the Italian slowing as the fight progressed particularly in round nine onwards with Cacace able to pick his spots to attack in differing variations along with being able to tie up the Italian when he did attempt to come forward. The scores by the judges with Steve Gray going 116-112 and Canada’s Benoit Roussel scoring it 117-113. Somehow Poland’s Pawel Kardyni scored it 116-112 to Magnesia. 116-112 is baffling and terrible but ultimately the right man won. Cacace improves to 20-1 while Magnesi suffers his first career defeat and now holds a record of 20-1.

Ekow Essuman defeated Samuel Antwi and retained his British and Commonwealth welterweight titles in a twelve-round display via unanimous decision with scores from judges Mark Lyson (115-114), although Michael Alexander (117-112) and Steve Gray (116-113) had it wider. Essuman now has defended his title three times successfully and now is the latest out-right winner of a British title. Essuman improves his record to 18-0 while Antwi drops to 14-2 but should be proud of his efforts and arguably produced the flashier and more eye-catching shots in the fight. However, the work rate of Essuman was consistent throughout and fought strongly on the inside to get the job done.

Mark Heffron delivered a knockout victory with one minute and 15 seconds of the first round against Martin Bulacio in a stay-busy contest for the British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion. Heffron hurt Bulacio within the first 30 seconds with a right-left combination on the ropes which stunned the Argentinian opponent. Shortly after Heffron cornered Bulacio on the ropes and delivered a right, left right combination which sent Bulacio spinning into the corner and saw referee Michael Alexander step in to wave the contest off. Heffron now improves to 29-2-1.

Raven Chapman opened the PPV broadcast on ESPN & BT Sport in convincing fashion with an unanimous points victory over Jorgelina Guanini to stretch her unbeaten record to 4-0 and claim the vacant WBC international featherweight title. Chapman who was the naturally bigger fighter used her size advantage to good effect, nearly forcing a stoppage in the second round of the scheduled eight-round contest. Guanini of Argentina and a former IBF super-flyweight world champion dug deep and countered effectively at times throughout the contest giving Chapman the rounds which she needed in overall an effective learning contest for the Hertfordshire-based Chapman.

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