In a fight without an indelible moment (no surprise there), New Zealand’s Joseph Parker successfully defended his WBO world heavyweight title with a majority decision over Hughie Fury. The scores were 118-110 twice and 114-114.
The fight was originally slated to take place in May on Parker’s turf in Auckland, but Fury was a late scratch with a back injury. In subsequent negotiations, Parker consented to assume the role of the foreigner. This was the second defense of the title he won from Andy Ruiz and his first fight outside the Antipodes.
Parker crowded Fury throughout the fight. Fighting on his back foot, Fury landed a few good uppercuts but wasn’t busy enough to impress the judges. Although Parker improved to 24-0 (18), he did nothing to suggest that he poses a serious threat to the top dog in the division, Anthony Joshua. Fury, the cousin of former lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, declined to 20-1.
In undercard bouts of note, Jimmy Kilrain Kelly (22-1) stopped his Bulgarian opponent, Stilyan Kostov, in the fourth round of a 12-round junior middleweight scrap and Josh Wale (25-9-2) successfully defended his BBBofC bantamweight title with an 11th round stoppage of Don Broadhurst (19-4-2).
Kostov was no match for Kelly. He was down in the opening round from a body shot and down twice more before the referee waived it off. Kelly has now won seven straight since a failed bid to wrest the WBO 154-pound title from countryman Liam Smith. The Wale-Broadhurst fight was an entertaining scrap that was unfortunately marred by a big brawl in the stands. The nip-and-tuck affair was brought to a sudden conclusion when Wale, a Yorkshireman, ended matters with a hard right hook. Broadhurst was unable to beat the count.
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