Parker Overcomes Knockdowns, Praises Zhang’s Power

By Michael Collins - 03/10/2024 - Comments

Joseph Parker showed his toughness by getting up off the canvas twice to defeat WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang by a twelve-round unanimous decision last Friday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Parker (35-3, 23 KOs) says he kept his composure after the knockdowns and boxed smartly to win a narrow decision by the scores 113-113, 114-112, and 115-111.

Most would agree that Zhang would have won the fight if he had the conditioning to fight hard for more than three rounds because he looked like he was heading towards victory early on.

Unfortunately for the 40-year-old Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs), he didn’t throw enough punches, allowing Parker to steal the rounds based on activity.

Parker’s Recovery

“I got the win onto the next. The first one, he caught me with a good shot. I’m like, ‘Holy damn, I’m down again,'” said Joseph Parker to iFL TV, discussing his victory over WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang last Friday in Riyadh.

The left hand that Zhang dropped Parker with looked like it was thrown so effortlessly, yet it bowled him over easily. Zhang followed up briefly, but the round ended before he could attempt to finish Parker.

“The second one was behind the head,” said Parker. “Because I was fit and in shape, I was able to recover a lot quicker. I went back in there and took whatever he was going to bring. I just boxed smartly and kept my composure.

“Times like that, you just have to relax and go with it and remember everything you’ve been training on and working on,” said Parker.

Zhang was breathing hard and looked exhausted by the sixth round, which allowed Parker to roar back to sweep the second half of the contest.

Comparing Zhang to Wilder

“His power is right up there,” said Parker when asked how Zhang’s power compares to Deontay Wilder’s. “He landed two really good shots. The first one was a really good shot. It caught me by surprise. The second one, he caught me behind the head, but he does have power.”

Parker didn’t get hit that much by Wilder in their fight last December due to the Bronze Bomber not throwing anything. He was just moving around all night and letting Parker win by being busier.

“If you let him punch you and you don’t move your head, you’re going to feel it very hard,” said Parker.

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