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Parker Retains Title Over Fury In Manchester

By Steven Bateson: Joseph Parker successfully retained his WBO Heavyweight Championship with a controversial majority decision over Hughie Fury in Manchester on Saturday night.


It was a difficult to score in all honesty, neither fighter exactly staked their claims to be known as a "world champion" but the once again wide margins of the judges’ scorecards will bring boxing back into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. The 114-114 card could hardly be disputed, it really was that close, however the two 118-110 scores that were delivered are nothing short of appalling.


It was a classic case of a boxer versus a puncher, with Parker just bombing forward looking to land one nuclear shot whilst Fury kept on the back foot and worked off his jab for the majority. Parker’s work was crude and messy, he struggled to find a clean punch up until the fifth round, whereas Fury seemed content with popping out his long range finder as he negated anything that the champion was trying to muster.


Hughie was clearly adopting the same tactics as his cousin Tyson did ,when dethroning Wladimir Klitschko in 2017, as he constantly kept on the move in an attempt of frustrating Parker. The tactics were definitely working but a clash of heads in the fourth round opened up a cut on Fury’s eye and although he wasn’t badly injured it did seem to slow his pace slightly from there on out. Parker stalked forward, showing limited head movement and footwork, and managed to land scruffy punches to the body as he tried to pin Fury on the ropes and sap his leg strength.


The pair swapped power punches in the sixth round, a nice inside uppercut from Fury was answered by two overhand rights by Parker but none of the punches landed flush enough to make a lasting impression. The crowd weren’t overly enamored with the action and for a world championship fight it wasn’t showing a justification for the money that was charged for a pay per view show.


In the buildup it was claimed that Fury’s best chance of victory was to box and make it "ugly and boring" which is exactly what he did. It wasn’t exciting but the 23 year old did display terrific footwork as he often made Parker miss wildly and look amateurish, the only problem is that in return he didn’t throw an awful lot of leather himself.


Joseph Parker must have been scoring points on his aggressive manner because it cannot have been on punches landed, they were extremely few and far between, it did however appear that he was the one forcing the action and that is favoured by certain judges and officials. Hughie Fury’s corner, led by dad Peter, did frequently inform the challenger he needed to do more in order to sway the verdict in his favour but it would appear he never stood much chance.


Round twelve definitely belonged to the champion, probably the clearest round to score of the whole fight, as he landed two meaty overhand right hands to the jaw of his opponent. Fury took the shots flush, unable to ride out of them as he had done previously in the contest, but he remained upright and held on as the final bell approached. The feeling around ringside was that it was a close fight, that it could sway either way depending on the kind of tactics you were preferred, but there was nobody claiming a dominant victory for either man.


Perhaps Fury didn’t do enough to "take the belt" but by the same degree it was hard to call Parker a worthy victor when all was said and done. There will be plenty of interested parties after this one, the WBO Championship will now be in crosshairs of the rest of the division because Parker showed severe limitations and flaws in his game.


The poor judging and score systems needs to be addressed because it is becoming too frequent. Fans are being short changed and so are the fighters, it may not have been a great fight but both men still deserved a fair verdict. I could have seen the fight a round or two either way, a draw was certainly understandable, but to say that Hughie Fury only won 2 rounds is baffling and shocking.


For Fury, at such a young age, there is plenty of time for him to learn and adapt from this. He’s an awkward fighter with good skills but he needs a higher workrate if he is to break the upper echelons of the division. For Joseph Parker it is a question of whether he has any more dimensions in his arsenal because if not then his world title reign may not last a whole lot longer.

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