Parker Retains WBO Belt in Majority Decision in Manchester
By: Eric Lunger
Hughie Fury fought the fight he wanted: on the back foot, using deceptive movement and foot work, and counter-punching Joseph Parker as the Kiwi WBO world champion came forward. But the counter-punching part was not really there. To my mind, Fury landed exactly one solid counter, in the fourth round, a pretty uppercut perfectly timed, as Parker came forward. But Parker walked right through it. And he continued to come forward every round.
In fact, like a boxing groundhog day, every round went the same. A few flicking jabs from Fury, Parker double jabbing to the body and then following with an assault to the head with his overhand right. Fury used his height advantage to lean way back in the ropes and lessen the assault. But the fact is, if you are the challenger you must do more than defend and run. Parker missed a lot, but he landed jabs and overhand rights – several of which you could hear on the broadcast! And he remains the champion. Rightly so.
Parker has been criticized for fighting exclusively in New Zealand against lesser opposition. He stepped into the lion’s den tonight in Manchester against a very good, very well-trained heavyweight, and he won with an aggressive game plan, a revival of his double jab (especially to the body), and by being supremely conditioned. Is Joseph Parker ready for the likes of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder? Time will tell, but Parker certainly silenced critics tonight.
Is The Heavweight Division Ready For More Fury?
By Johnny Walker
Is the boxing world ready for another member of the Fury clan holding a world championship belt around his waist?
The last time such an event occured was in 2015 when Tyson Fury–cousin of Hughie, who fights WBO heavyweight champion at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK, on Saturday–ended the long reign of Wladimir Klitschko over the division in a dreadful fight, one in which Wlad, distracted by domestic issues, appeared not to notice he was in until it was too late.
Tyson Fury simply used his length and awkwardness, plus the mental absence of Klitschko, to take the titles and–joyfully for some long-time haters of the brothers Klitschko in the boxing world–to become a most unlikely champion.
Clearly, Tyson Fury must have felt he got lucky that night, and bailed on a rematch with the former champ, instead boozing and snorting his way into oblivion. Excuses were made, promises broken, and Fury ended up retiring and unretiring from boxing depending what side of the bed he got up on.
The British Boxing Board of Control still has some questions regarding drug use (including PED usage), they intend to ask the fighter, but one assumes they won’t bother unless he actually tries to come back to the ring. Currently, Tyson Fury appears to be aging in dog years, and with his hair long gone and his gut ever-expanding, looks old enough to be Hughie Fury’s uncle instead of his cousin.
Personality-wise, Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs) is the polar opposite of Tyson, a quiet sort who goes about his business with a minimum of fuss. At 6′ 6″ tall, he is like Tyson Fury long and rangy, but probably a better techinical boxer than his more famous cousin ever was. Fury goes to the body with authority, uses his jab well, exhibits good footwork and generally appears calm and composed in the ring.
Then again, the mastermind behind Hughie Fury is the same man who steered Tyson Fury to his -famous upset of Klitschko, Peter Fury–who also happens to be his father.
So the question is, can the Fury clan pull off another upset and take the belt away from New Zealander Joseph Parker tomorrow night?
Parker, also undefeated (23-0, 18 KOs) started off with a ton of hype, but in recent fights has begun to look a bit shopworn. A majority decison over Andy Ruiz Jr. and a unanimous decision over Razvan Cojanu have left some questioning whether Parker has been overestimated, or if he is becoming jaded fighting people who a true champion should be leaving on the canvas.
The truth is, the heavyweight division has been a bit of a mess since majestic reign of Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko ended, and it’s time for someone to step up and show that he wants to be the man to replace the men from Ukraine.
Anthony Joshua has done that, but questions remain about his chin after he was rocked by Dillian Whyte and nearly knocked out by a 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko in his final fight.
Deontay Wilder’s win over a dehydrated Bermane Stiverne remains his best victory, and many still believe Wilder won’t last when he gets in the ring with someone in the upper echelons of the division, an issue that should be settled when he fights Cuban power puncher Luis Ortiz next.
Neither Parker, who while listed at 6′ 4″ tall looks smaller, or Hughie Fury–who at 6’6″ is more within the size range of other belt holders like Joshua and Deontay Wilder, not to mention the Klitschkos–have beaten a murderer’s row to get to this title fight, and one can truthfully state that the bout is a step up for both men.
Parker really needs to look good here, or he will be written off as a legitimate contender to unify the belts. A controversial points win simply will not do. Parker needs to stop Hughie Fury and he knows it.
As for Hughie Fury, he has the advantage of being prepared by a man who already helped to stun the boxing world once when he helped end Wladimir Klitchko’s reign, a result no one saw coming. A victory over Parker would not be near the shocker that Tyson Fury’s win over Wladimir was, but it would be an impressive upset nevertheless. No doubt he will use his length to try to give Parker fits when he tries to get inside.
If Peter Fury can do it again this Saturday with son Hughie, he truly may be a pugilistic wizard. And we’ll have a Fury as heavyweight champion without all the Twitter drama that Tyson Fury loves so much, and that cousin Hughie for the most part avoids like the plague.
WBO Champion Joseph Parker to Defend Title in Manchester vs Hughie Fury
By: Eric Lunger
WBO Heavyweight champion of the World Joseph Parker (23-0, 18 KOs) of New Zealand steps onto the biggest stage of his career this Saturday in Manchester, England, as he faces highly skilled, but relatively untested, Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs). Parker, 25, won the vacant WBO belt in December of last year against Andy Ruiz, Jr., and defended it this May against late replacement Razvan Cojanu (who stepped in for an injured Hughie Fury). This will be Parker’s first fight in the UK, and an emphatic result would put him in the mix to challenge Anthony Joshua. The Parker team understands what’s at stake. Veteran trainer Kevin Barry, who has brought Joseph from prospect to champion, spoke to boxinginsider.com at the opening of Parker’s camp, declaring “this fight in the UK is something we have waited for, for a long time… and I don’t want this to be a twelve-round fight. Joseph Parker is going to really let his hands go in this one!”
Parker has tremendous hand speed for a heavyweight and explosive power. While not know as a defensive specialist, he neutralized a persistent pressure attack from Andy Ruiz. Parker is adept at fighting taller men (Fury is 6’ 6,” two inches taller that Parker), and is well trained to get inside and fight from a middle distance, nullifying the long reach of a taller opponent. But Parker also possesses a fine jab, which he can use both to the head and the body. Early in his career, he used a double jab, a weapon he wants to utilize against Fury. Parker told me in July: “I used the double jab a lot in my early fights and it’s something that has fallen off a bit, but I feel now it is very important to bring it back.”
Hughie Fury is a tricky fighter, who, much like his cousin Tyson, uses his long body to create angles, slip punches, and counter. Trained by his father Peter, Hughie will bring a skill set that Parker has not faced before. Kevin Barry is not taking him lightly: “Hughie is a world amateur underage champion, and he’s undefeated. He comes out of a very good boxing family, and he’s well coached. I have no doubt that on September 23 we will get the best Hughie Fury there is.”
This is Fury’s first crack at a title, and no doubt the Manchester fans will be in full throat backing their man. The hostile atmosphere and Fury’s skill will be a genuine test for Joseph Parker as he seeks to stake his claim to Heavyweight supremacy outside of his native New Zealand.
After Successful Title Defense, Team Parker Looks to Make a Statement in England Against Hughie Fury
By: Eric Lunger
On May 6th in Manukau City, New Zealand, charismatic WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (23-0, 18 KOs) made his first successful title defense, decisively out boxing Romanian Razvan Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) over twelve rounds. Despite a technically proficient and disciplined performance by Parker, the local media were disappointed, having hoped for a KO victory for their home town fighter. In addition to being 6’ 8” and good boxer, Cojanu was a sparring partner in Parker’s camp and a late-minute replacement for an injured Hughie Fury, the original opponent. He was, therefore, intimately familiar with Parker’s style.
Photo Credit: http://photosport.co.nz/
Boxinginsider.com spoke with Parker’s long time trainer and former Olympian Kevin Barry last week, and Kevin had this to say on the media’s reaction to the fight: “The New Zealand media really were a bit in awe of Anthony Joshua’s performance against Klitschko, and they were thinking: ‘Right, Joe is going in against a last minute replacement.’ But what they didn’t realize is that the most dangerous sort of opponent is the one you bring in the last moment. There are many examples of this sort over the years.”
In addition, Cojanu went more than one hundred rounds with Parker, and sparring partners are invited to become part of the camp. “The days that we are not sparring,” Barry pointed out, “they are training along side Joe, watching what I am doing with Joe, the combinations we are working on, and so on. So, for me this was a very dangerous fight; Razvan Cojanu know more about Joe’s style than any opponent he had faced.”
But with a successful defense under their belt, the team is looking forward to fighting Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs) on September 23 in Manchester, England. While Barry has a good deal of respect for the challenger, he is confident in his fighter: “I don’t think Hughie can match Joe with strength. He’s got decent skills, a world amateur underage champion, and he’s undefeated. He comes out of a very good boxing family, and he’s well coached. I have no doubt that on September 23 we will get the best Hughie Fury there is.”
Barry understands what is at stake at this level: “This is a big fight for a young guy. It takes a lot of courage to be in this position. This is Hughie’s first time in the major spotlight, and there is huge pressure and expectations on him. They’ve got the hometown advantage, but with that comes huge pressure and expectations from friends, family, his fan base.”
The Parker team knows that this opportunity to make a statement in the UK is the crucial next step in Parker’s career. Barry said: “I will be imploring Joe to let his hands go, this fight in the UK is something we have waited for for a long time. Eighteen months ago, when Joseph was the number one mandatory contender with the IBF, we thought we’d being going there to fight Joshua, and at once stage we were, until we both took a different path. But we are there now, and I don’t want this to be a twelve round fight. Joseph Parker is going to really let his hand go in this one, there is no doubt in my mind.”
Boxing Insider Interview: WBO Champion Joseph Parker excited to head to Manchester to face Hughie Fury in September
By: Eric Lunger
WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker (23-0, 18 KOs) of New Zealand will fight for the first time in England on September 23, making his second title defense against the talented challenger Hughie Fury, cousin to lineal champion Tyson Fury. I had a chance last Thursday to speak with Joseph from his training camp in Las Vegas.
Photo credit: http://photosport.co.nz/
We began with a brief look back at Parker’s successful defense of his WBO title against Razvan Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) on May 6. A sparring partner in Parker’s camp, the towering Romanian stepped in as a late minute replacement for Hughie Fury, who had been sidelined by a back injury. The event narrowly avoided being cancelled entirely.
Boxinginsider.com: First of all, congrats on a successful defense. Razvan Cojanu was so familiar with your style and your offense — how did you stay disciplined with his constant retreating and avoiding your offense?
Joseph Parker: Yes, it was a little difficult fighting someone you have been in camp with. But first, it was a great result for us and it was great to get a fight after a long camp. I’d like to thank my team for doing that. There were a lot of things in the background, so it was great to get the fight.
In terms of the fight, I think sparring gave him a lot of awareness of what my style is, and how I fight. He was a lot more prepared for what I was going to bring. How I stayed focused was to listen to Kevin, listen to instructions, and to follow the game plan he had given me that week.
BI: In a fight like that, do you guys change your tactics round-to-round? Are you waiting for Kevin to direct you between rounds? How does that dynamic work between you guys?
JP: We go into every fight with a game plan that we discuss before hand, so we have a clear vision of what we are going to do in the ring, though sometimes we may have to change it up if its not working – we may have to go from Plan A to Plan B. But in that particular fight, the goal for us was just to box smart, you know, we went from training for Fury to Cojanu, who has a lot more size. So we had to change things up very quickly. I think we did a great job, and the positive thing was to get a fight in.
I know that my performance wasn’t the best; I was in great shape but it wasn’t a great performance. We had a long camp and I would rate my performance at about 65%. I have a lot more to offer and I am really excited to be able to show people the real me without all the changes and distractions.
BI: It seemed in the early rounds that you really focused on changing the level of your jab, going upstairs and then down to the body. Is that something you had prepped for Hughie or is that just the way you are going to deal with a taller fighter?
JP: Yeah, I think this is an approach we’ve taken in both camps; you have to attack the head and the body. Sometimes the body shots hurt more, so I think going into fights with taller opponents it is very important to mix it up – I feel like its just a natural thing to go up and down.
BI: Joseph, how do you guys prepare mentally to go into Manchester, the Furys’ backyard? It’s going to be a pro-Fury crowd, and is that something you are concerned about, or can you just tune that stuff out?
JP: Well, for us, it’s going to be exciting. The reason I say this is because we are used to fighting at home. We are used to the crowd, we appreciate our home crowd. We have a great set up and structure we follow when we fight in New Zealand.
But this is way more exciting, fighting somewhere else, fighting in front of his crowd, and I think being a world champion, you have to fight around the world, and not just one destination. I think it is important to go around the world and display what you have.
BI: Hughie Fury, from what I have seen, is a counter puncher. He has that awkward head movement, and he tries to lure opponents in. How much do you game plan for that, or how much do you say: I am Joseph Parker, you have to beat me? Where is that balance?
JP: I have watched some of Hughie’s fights on YouTube. He is quite good at using the ring, I’ll say that. I think going into each fight, we focus on a game plan, focusing on what you have to do. It’s more that if you can perfect what you are going to do, everything falls into place. We don’t fall into the trap of worrying what he will do, rather focus on what we will do.
BI: I don’t mean this in the wrong way, but you have kind of an old time double jab. Is that something that you guys work on, or is that something that is natural in your style?
JP: It’s something that I really love, it is something we worked on. I used the double jab a lot in my early fights and it’s something that has fallen off a bit, but I feel now it is very important to bring it back. But we are working all the time on things we can improve on. We want to improve every fight, you know.
BI: The more weapons in your arsenal, the better?
JP: Of course, you have got to have different weapons. And with different weapons you can show things and confuse fighters. So it is always a work in progress.
BI: You’re in your second week, what is camp like at this point?
JP: Getting our fitness back up again, getting our strength, working on the game plan. Trying to explore with my mind’s eye what I am trying to accomplish in each session. Also, the first few weeks are preparing for when we do start sparring.
BI: Do you have specific fitness metrics that you use or do you rely on how your body is feeling?
JP: We have a good structure – we train three times a day. But the training does take a toll on the body. One thing that Kevin has mentioned to me is that it is very important to listen to your body, sometimes it is not really up to the hard repetition. You don’t want to overwork yourself. I have been doing this for a while, and it is all about finding a balance.
BI: What’s it like that last couple of hours before a bout? What are you guys doing back in the changing room? Are you staying loose? Are you talking? What is that final preparation like?
JP: For myself, and my team, when we are back there, most of the time the music is playing, everyone is dancing, we’re telling jokes. I feel like I have done this from the beginning [of my career], I feel like it’s a good way of keeping ourselves relaxed. When you are in the ring, then you hit the switch and enter fight mode. But before that, you stay relaxed, save your energy. You know you have a big task ahead of you.
BI: That’s really interesting. To switch gears a bit, I watched the press conference on July 11 [from London, England] where Tyson Fury, a guy I think the US media doesn’t really know how to deal with, who has been kind of vilified — he was so respectful towards you in the press conference. That moment when you guys shook hands was such a classy and genuine thing. Can you comment on that?
JP: Yes. Leading up to our time in London, I have always had a lot of respect for Tyson, and I reached out to him on social media. We have been exchanging messages for a while. He has always been respectful of me and the team. It was great to finally meet him. He has done a lot for boxing. Of course, he beat Wladimir [Klitschko]. He’s the guy who beat the champ. He has been through some things, but he also is the reason we got the chance to fight for a belt.
But it was a nice moment to show heavyweight to heavyweight respect. I think respect is an important thing in boxing. There are a lot of humble fighters, but there are some who are disrespectful, and don’t watch what they say. I think boxing is a gentleman’s sport.
BI: Thanks for that. Last question: England has become in some ways the center of gravity for the Heavyweight division, but here in the US we have [WBC Champion] Deontay Wilder. Have you ever seen him fight in person? What is your take on him?
JP: I saw him fight in his last bout, against Washington. I think he was out of the ring for a while [with a broken hand], but my take on him was that he is very powerful, very powerful right hand. That particular fight wasn’t his best performance, but he got the job done. I think he steps up to the occasion. He is a champion for a reason: he trains hard, and is motivated and determined. I would like the opportunity one day to fight the other champions. I feel like the world should see champions fighting champions.
United Kingdom Boxing Round Up
By: Thomas Nicholls
As the British Boxing scene continues to grow from strength to strength, this new weekly feature will highlight all the news, views and fight previews from the Great British circuit. Enjoy!
On Saturday night, the enigmatic Chris Eubank Jr defended his IBO Super-Middleweight crown against German veteran “King” Arthur Abraham at the SSE Arena in London. Many had foreseen the outcome of the fight as the cocky, charismatic Eubank dominated his way to a landslide points decision as the weary Abraham had no answer for the Brit’s speed and punch volume.
In victory, Eubank (27) has now confirmed his place in the forthcoming World Boxing Super Series otherwise known as the “Muhammad Ali Trophy”, a mouth-watering eight-man tournament starring some of the main players in the 168lbs division. As third seed, Eubank will have home advantage against unbeaten Turkish prospect Avni Yildirim. Eubank is one of four Britons who will feature in the tournament, alongside Jamie Cox, WBA Super Champion George Groves and pre-tournament favourite, Callum Smith.
Muhammad Ali Trophy Quarter Finals –
George Groves (GB) vs Jamie Cox (GB)
Chris Eubank Jr (GB) vs Avni Yildirim (TUR)
Callum Smith (GB) vs Erik Skoglund (SWE)
Jurgen Braemer (GER) vs Rob Brant (USA)
Elsewhere in the UK, WBO Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders is set to defend his crown against American southpaw, Willie Monroe Jr. Monroe Jr is in the process of resurrecting his career after a defeat to GGG back in May 2015. In the press conference on Monday, Saunders hailed Monroe a “quitter” in reference to his evident surrender against the hard-hitting Kazakh, Golovkin.
Billy Joe Saunders has been concerningly inactive since he was crowned champion in 2015, his solitary defence coming in an unconvincing display against unknown Russian, Artur Akavov. Saunders has frequently vowed to unify the division and promoter Frank Warren has twice come close to finalising a fight with either GGG or Canelo, but Billy Joe’s repeated injury setbacks have for now scuppered those plans. London’s CopperBox arena will play host to the fight with Monroe on September 16.
September is due to be a busy month for Britain’s fighters as the Heavyweight clash between Hughie Fury and Joseph Parker is now back on after a cancellation earlier in year. Originally, the fight was due to take place in New Zealand, but the Manchester Arena is the new venue for the Heavyweight showdown.
Hughie, cousin of Tyson, is a slick point scoring fighter who possesses an impressive 20-0 record at just 22 years old. WBO Champion, Parker will enter the fight as favourite, but the Fury camp are certainly no strangers to the underdog status and they will take courage from Parker’s most recent bout as he failed to topple the uninspiring Romanian, Razvan Cojanu.
Manchester based Hughie has this week claimed that he, for the first time in his career, feels at full fitness. Plagued by health issues throughout his teens, Fury is looking and feeling healthier and is convinced it’s his time to make his mark on the Heavyweight scene and bring the WBO strap back in to the Fury family. “It doesn’t matter where I fight Parker in the world, I know my ability and what I’m capable of achieving and I know I can win the world title.”I don’t like to count my chickens, but the obvious incentive to beat Parker is the big fights out there like a unification against Joshua or Wilder.
“This is what boxing is all about, the best should fight the best and the best fighter will come out on top.”
“Tyson will be coming back and he’ll be out to reclaim his position, we’ll never fight each other, but we’ll rule the division together.”
Meanwhile, we still await confirmation of Wladimir Klitschko triggering his rematch clause with Anthony Joshua, but Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom staff were in Vegas last week looking at potential venues for the fight. Let’s hope we have an announcement in the coming weeks!
Joseph Parker to Defend his WBO Belt against Hughie Fury in April
Joseph Parker to Defend his WBO Belt against Hughie Fury in April
By: Eric Lunger
WBO Heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (22-0, 18 KO’s) of New Zealand will make his first title defense against Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KO’s) of the UK, it was announced Friday. Duco Events of New Zealand won the WBO purse bid on Friday morning, outbidding Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter. The bout is set for April 1.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Duco won the purse with a bid of $3,011,000, sixty percent of which goes to Parker whether he wins or loses. The rest goes to Fury, the WBO mandatory challenger. Thus, Parker stands to make nearly two million dollars in his first defense. While Duco has the right to stage the bout anywhere, and while David Higgins, the Duco chief, has raised Samoa, Singapore, and even Manchester, England, as possible sites, New Zealand remains the most likely locale.
This is good news for Parker’s long time trainer, 1984 Olympic Silver medalist Kevin Barry. In an email correspondence with boxinginsider.com, Barry noted “Joseph has massive support in New Zealand, and that kind of support is good to help Joe through the tough rounds of a fight.” While Joseph and his team find comfort and support fighting at home, Parker will continue to train in Las Vegas until two weeks before the bout, according to Barry.
The matchup is an interesting one. Barry sees both fighters as “still evolving and improving every fight.” Parker, 25, has fifteen fights at ten or twelve rounds, but has fought only three times outside of New Zealand or Samoa. The younger Fury, 22, has had only five bouts at ten rounds as a pro, but Barry understands the challenge that Hughie presents: “[Hughie] has an excellent amateur pedigree and has learned his craft in the gym with his cousin Tyson Fury. Hughie has got good movement and skills, and uses his size well to control the distance of his opponent.”
When asked how the team would prepare differently for Fury than for Andy Ruiz, Jr., whom Parker defeated in December for the WBO strap, Barry put it this way: “Obviously there is a big difference between Andy Ruiz and Hughie Fury. Andy likes to come forward and press the action while Hughie is comfortable fighting off the back foot. Andy has to work inside to score his punches while Hughie is 6 inches taller and can land his scoring punches from the outside. Hughie is a young man who is getting better with every fight.”
Everyone involved in this bout understands how crucial this fight is for the heavyweight division. “The winner of this fight will be in a terrific position to challenge in unifications fights with the other current champions,” said Barry.