“I just want to beat him properly this time,” were the words of Joseph Parker ahead of his rematch with Dereck ‘War’ Chisora at Manchester Arena. The pair had clashed previously over the summer with Parker recovering from a first-minute knockdown to register a hotly disputed split decision victory in which Chisora won 116-111 on one card, with the other two judges awarding the New Zealander narrow victories by matching counts of 115-113.
Parker achieved his objective in this match, constantly piercing the guard of the advancing Chisora and scoring three knockdowns on the way to a unanimous decision win over the hard-hitting Londoner by scores of 115-110, 115-111, and 114-112.
IN THE BLUE CORNER – JOSEPH PARKER
A former WBO world heavyweight champion, Parker (29-2, 21KO) won championship gold in 2016 with a majority decision victory over Andy Ruiz in his hometown of Auckland. Parker defended the belt successfully with decision victories over Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury, before losing the strap in a unification bout via unanimous decision to Anthony Joshua.
English heavyweight Dillian Whyte inflicted a second straight defeat upon Parker by unanimous decision in 2018, but the New Zealander rebounded and was riding a five-fight win streak into this contest including the summertime win over Chisora.
IN THE RED CORNER – DERECK CHISORA
Veteran Chisora (32-11, 23KO) rose to the top of the domestic scene back in 2010 when he beat Danny Williams for the British heavyweight title before dropping that belt to current heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury via unanimous decision two fights later.
Chisora continued to pursue world-level opposition and lost fights to Vitali Klitschko and David Haye before losing a rematch to Fury in 2014. A five-fight win streak preceded defeats to Kubrat Pulev and Dillian Whyte before Chisora knocked out Carlos Takam to achieve one of the biggest victories of his career.
The man known affectionately as Del Boy registered another quality win over David Price before falling to Oleksandr Usyk and then Parker last time out.
Chisora walked to the ring in menacing fashion, dressed in a black and gold robe with his custom union jack-themed bandana serving as a bandit-style mask while the crowd sang along to ‘Hotel California.’ Parker strutted to the ring confidently in a short-sleeved white hooded ensemble as hip hop played loudly around the arena.
Parker took up position in center ring to open the bout, staying there for the opening minute as he jabbed and threw sharp punches to gain the early upper hand. When Chisora opened up offensively, Parker caught him with sharp counter punches before rocking the Londoner with a strong right uppercut to cap an impressive start.
Chisora backed Parker onto the ropes early in round two and landed a straight right hand before roughing up the New Zealander on the ropes. With his confidence raised, Chisora swung two heavy overhand rights and the pair ended up in a close-quarters firefight in the corner.
Heavy-hitting Chisora landed a strong uppercut and poured on the pressure while Parker landed accurate counter punches in what was already an entertaining fight. In the final stages of the round, Parker rocked Chisora back onto the ropes with a hook and connected with two punishing right hands before the bell rang.
Parker showed a little more caution in the early stages of round three, but Chisora managed to close the distance and land two hooks. The right-handed counter punches of Parker were slicing through the guard of Chisora, and the New Zealander landed a thudding right hand to the body before unleashing a barrage of punches.
After taking significant punishment, Chisora fought his way off the ropes by swinging and missing with a wild overhand right only for Parker to land two more blows with surgical precision.
Parker had come into this fight 10 pounds heavier than the first encounter and used that to his advantage by leaning against Chisora on the ropes before referee Howard Foster separated the pair and warned the New Zealander.
With his left eye starting to show visible swelling, Chisora did not take a backward step and walked Parker to the ropes, landing with several heavy blows.
Chisora walked down Parker in the opening stages of round four, prodding out jabs and throwing heavy right hands. Parker countered with two scoring body shots while being forced to fight off the back foot for the first half of the round.
Referee Foster allowed both men to throw punches in the clinch and Parker dazed Chisora with an uppercut and sent the Londoner reeling into the ropes with a left hand. Chisora received a standing eight count before walking to the corner and leaning back in a defensive shell before holding onto Parker and forcing referee Foster to separate the pair and allow time for recovery.
Chisora leaned back once more and ducked under a punch before swinging vicious punches to fight off the ropes. The first match had taken place behind closed doors, and the difference in atmosphere was showing as the crowd roared on the response of Chisora. As the bell rang to end the round, referee Foster dragged back a fired-up Chisora who screamed at Parker to let him know he was still up for the fight.
True to his words, the relentless Chisora advanced throughout round five and walked through heavy counter punches to keep the pressure on in what was his best round of the fight so far. Chisora ended the round by sending sweat flying from the face of Parker with a heavy left hook.
Round six started in a predictable fashion, with Chisora walking forward and soaking up several heavy-handed counter shots on his way to backing Parker onto the ropes and teeing off with three successful body shots. Parker kept landing counter punches before receiving two more heavy body shots when backed against the turnbuckle, the New Zealander responded with an artful one-two combination at center ring to stall the momentum of Chisora.
Chisora showed astounding ability to absorb punishment and walk through the precise counter punches of Parker to keep the pressure on before the fight was paused by referee Foster who warned Parker for a low blow.
Parker was backed onto the ropes early in round seven by a double jab before blocking an aggressive right hook from Chisora. The hometown fighter continued to stalk Parker and walked onto a stinging one-two combination before being brought to his knees by a heavy uppercut.
Chisora took an eight count before repeating his survival strategy of walking into a corner and adopting a defensive posture. Parker cautiously picked his shots and Chisora fought his way out from the turnbuckle, eating a right-handed uppercut before backing Parker onto the ropes and swinging vicious hooks to riotous cheers from the crowd.
There was a notable dip in the unsustainable fight pace to open round eight with repeated clinches being separated by referee Forster. Chisora landed three hooks as he walked down Parker with his ever-present forward movement. The New Zealander responded with a knockdown as he cut through with a slick uppercut before pushing the dazed Englishman onto the ropes.
Referee Foster gave a standing eight count and Chisora walked over to the corner and raised his guard to see out the final 10 seconds of the round.
Parker rattled the skull of Chisora with a three-punch combination in round nine and unleashed a flurry of malicious hooks before Chisora fought back once more. A tiring Chisora stumbled against the ropes under the momentum of a missed overhand right before ending the round with two late punches to the body.
Though Parker appeared to be dominating on the scorecards, DAZN displayed after round nine that Chisora actually held an advantage of 96-92 in power punches landed. The English fighter would be hoping to land one fight-altering power blow as he was likely left in need of a knockout to win as the fight entered the championship rounds.
Chisora closed the distance for almost the entirety of round 10 but could not gain any momentum due to the accurate, stinging counter punches of Parker.
“You’ve won the fight, you’ve just gotta stay focused now,” said a confident head trainer Andy Lee to Parker in the corner between rounds while his fighter took deep breaths to recover for the remaining two rounds.
If the words of Lee did not keep Chisora alert then Chisora did as he walked the New Zealander back onto the ropes, landing a flurry of hooks and uppercuts. Chisora kept looking for a decisive punch, but Parker remained a threat on the counter and drained time off the clock with two strategic clinches that saw him lean his body weight on the tiring Londoner.
“I need you to go to war,” implored trainer Dave Coldwell in the corner of Chisora ahead of the final round and he could be confident of getting his wish as his fighter had done exactly that for the previous 11 rounds.
The crowd rose to their feet and saluted the two fighters as they touched gloves ahead of the final round. The swinging torso of Chisora kept chopping away at the body of Parker with hooks as he bore down on the New Zealander. Parker countered with two strong punches, only for Chisora to shake his head and push his opponent away.
The pair exchanged heavy blows as the clock expired with Parker grabbing onto a clinch and hold on for what looked like a comfortable victory on the scorecards.
When the scores were read out, they were closer than many observers expected given the three knockdowns scored by Parker with the New Zealander being handed the victory by unanimous scores of 115-110, 115-111, and 114-112.
WHAT THEY SAID
Parker was full of praise for his opponent after what was an excellent fight, saying “he never stopped coming. He is a credit to the sport of boxing, very entertaining.”
Part of what makes Chisora so entertaining is the constant movement forward, something Parker and trainer Lee had prepared for. “We practiced and practiced and practiced in the gym that jab, uppercut,” said Parker of the punch he had so consistently scored with throughout the bout.
Trainer Lee was delighted with the performance of his fighter, telling DAZN that “you can see a lot of improvements from the last fight. I thought he fought a great fight, he managed the fight perfectly. There are always mistakes, but that’s a good thing because we can work on them. I’m so proud of him.”
WHAT NEXT FOR THE WINNER
Parker has his eyes on regaining the world heavyweight title, something that is no small task with the belts being currently owned by Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Deontay Wilder would provide Parker with an enticing option if the match could be made, while Eddie Hearn discussed the possibility of an IBF title eliminator fight with undefeated Croatian Filip Hrgovic.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE LOSER
“Dereck Chisora is a prizefighter, I am sure he will be back,” said Hearn post-fight of the veteran Chisora who had just completed his 44th professional fight. If he does return, the fan-favorite will be a guaranteed draw and has shown the desire to fight top 10 opposition.
An all-British clash with Joe Joyce would be a high-profile fight and provide Joyce with an opportunity for the biggest win of his career, while victory could fire Chisora back into the top 10 himself.
Author’s Scorecard (round by round)