24 Sep 2017

Parker holds onto WBO belt

3:57 pm on 24 September 2017

New Zealand's world heavyweight boxing champion Joseph Parker says he was always confident he had done enough in his fight with England's Hughie Fury to defend his WBO championship belt.

Joseph Parker.

Joseph Parker. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Parker scored a majority points decision over Fury in their 12 round title fight in Manchester.

Two judges had Parker winning 118-110, while the third scored it 114-all.

It was 25 year old Parker's second title defence and takes his unbeaten record to 24 wins. His promoter David Higgins says he has earned between $1 million and $1.5 million for the fight.

Parker was by far the more aggressive fighter although he was unable to land a knockout blow. Fury, who spent much of the fight on the back foot, stayed in contention with his jab and the points decision brought about his first loss in 21 bouts.

Joseph Parker.

Joseph Parker. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Parker said it was frustrating trying to catch the defensive Fury but he's proud to have successfully defended his WBO belt in Fury's backyard.

"It felt good winning in Manchester," said Parker.

"I felt I was putting him under pressure and landing some big shots. I felt that through the whole fight I was doing good."

"I wanted the knock out and didn't get it. Maybe I was trying too hard so maybe next time I'll get that knockout.

"But I'm happy to be able to represent New Zealand and Samoa and to come back home with the belt and celebrate."

Joseph Parker during a training session with trainer Kevin Barry before his WBO title bout with Andy Ruiz.

Joseph Parker with trainer Kevin Barry Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Trainer Kevin Barry says fighting Fury in Manchester was always going to be tough.

"We knew that Joe had won the fight but we also knew we were in Manchester. I've seen alot of rough decisions here in the past so I was encouraging Joe every round not to give up the last 15 seconds and allow Hughie to come back in," said Barry.

"Alot of the top fighters here in the UK thought Hughie would out-box Joe. Hughie is good at surviving - there were three times where I thought Joe was close to knocking him out but he survived."

"We beat an undefeated fighter in his backyard and we beat him convicingly on two of the judges cards so I think Joe has made a very good statement about his quality."

"Everyone knows the awkardness of Hughie Fury and we will get the respect for that performance."