WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) did a good job of dealing with the spoiling tactics of previously unbeaten #1 WBO Hughie Fury (20-1, 10 KOs) in dealing him his first career defeat in winning a 12 round majority decision on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
The scores were 118-110, 118-110 for Parker and 114-114 for Fury. The judges that scored it 114-114 didn’t give Parker much credit for his aggression and his more solid blows that he landed. Parker looked like the better fighter of the two. That’s not to say Parker looked good. He wasn’t impressive either, but he was at least trying to make a fight of it. Hughie appeared to only have one thing on his mind tonight and that was survival.
The fight never really got interesting because Fury, 23, wouldn’t stop moving enough to mount any sustained offensive attack.
The 6’6” Hughie was jabbing, moving and trying his best to befuddle the 25-year-old Parker during the 12-round fight. I give Fury a lot of credit for the way that he was able to move around the ring. Hughie showed excellent ring movement without getting tired. Hughie’s mobility was better than even a young Wladimir Klitschko at the start of his career back 1998. Hughie made it tough on Parker to get near enough to land any of his big shots.
“This is corruption at its highest level in boxing,” said Hughie’s promoter Mick Hennessy to BBC 5 Live. “I thought it was an absolute masterclass, shades of Ali. Parker wasn’t even in the fight. One of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen.”
Towards the end of the fight, Parker went on the attack mode and landed some right hands to the head of Hughie that got his attention. Hughie was quick to tie Parker up each time to keep him from landing much else, but he did enough in the later rounds to seal the victory.
In rounds 1-7, Hughie made it hard for Parker to connect with his power shots. Hughie was steadily jabbing and sticking his long arm out in front of him to push off on Parker. That shouldn’t have been allowed, but the referee wasn’t doing much in the way of controlling the action. There was a lot of talking to that referee Marcus McDonnell was doing to both fighters, but he never took points away.
Parker didn’t do a good job of cutting off the ring to force Fury to fight him. Parker was moving slowly most of the time, and he was timid about trying to get past Hughie’s jab. By not attacking hard enough, Parker made the fight a lot tougher than it should have been. It could have been an easy fight if Parker was willing to eat Hughie’s jabs so that he could get close enough to land his big shots.
For Hughie, this has got to be disappointing. He’s wanted a world title shot since he turned pro, and unfortunately take advantage of it by fighting aggressively on offense. I give Hughie 5 stars for the way he fought on defense. He was solid in that department. But where Hughie failed to deliver was on offense. If he had taken the fight to Parker at least some of the time tonight, he probably would have won. It looked as if Hughie wasn’t mentally prepared to win the fight with his offensive boxing skills. It seemed more like Hughie was hoping to spoil his way to a victory.
With the way Parker fought tonight, I would give him zero chance of beating IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua or the winner of the Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz fight. All 3 of those heavyweights beat Parker right now. He’s got to make some improvement if he wants to hold onto his WBO title.
The WBO needs to get with it and start ranking some talented heavyweights for a change. Hughie was an embarrassment tonight. Some of the past heavyweights the WBO has ranked highly have been bad as well.