Former WBO heavyweight champ Joseph Parker got his 2020 underway in exciting style last night on the stacked card in Frisco, Texas headlined by Mikey Garcia against Jessie Vargas. The New Zealander was facing a relative unknown, and a natural cruiserweight, in Shawndell Winters (who weighed-in at 208 pounds for the fight, to Parker’s 245), but Parker got the job done in style, scoring an eye-catching KO.
Parker’s right hand froze Winters in the fifth, his follow-up blows sending the 39 year old from Illinois down heavily, half through the ropes. Winters showed great heart in getting up but he was done. The time was 2:40 of the fifth-round. Parker is now 27-2(21). Winters, who gave it a real go, falls to 13-3(12).
Coming back from the spider bite he suffered last year, this scuppering his scheduled fight with Dereck Chisora, Parker won his third straight, having now beaten Alexander Flores, Alex Leapai and Winters since suffering back to back defeats to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte. Aggressive and also boxing confidently, his hands held low, Parker nearly ended matters in the third, when his big right hand decked Winters as he was along the ropes. Winters managed to come back and even opened a cut around Parker’s eye as he landed some shots in the fourth.
But then, closing the show in dramatic style, Parker stiffened Winters with another right in the fifth and then wasted no time landing the finishing blows to send Winters crashing down hard and heavy. Parker was quite critical of his own performance, stating after the victory that he can box a lot better, how he can be a lot more patient. Parker also called out both the winner of the upcoming Oleksandr Usyk-Dereck Chisora fight and Dillian Whyte, with whom he wants a rematch.
Parker said he’d leave it to Eddie Hearn to get him his next fight. While Parker-Whyte II would be interesting for a whole bunch of reasons (Parker won the first fight in the opinion of some, the second-round knockdown he suffered coming from a Whyte head-butt, the knockdown scoring crucial on the cards at the end of 12. Also, the July 2018 battle also being thrilling to watch; Whyte decked heavily in the final round and looking close to gone), and while Parker against the Usyk-Chisora winner would also be attractive, the fight I’d like to see is Parker-Andy Ruiz II. Parker won a close decision over Ruiz to claim the WBO strap back in December of 2016. Now, with both Parker and Ruiz on the comeback trail (Ruiz yet to fight again after his loss to Joshua), a return between the two seems like a natural.