By rnz.co.nz and is republished with permission
New Zealand boxer Joseph Parker has revived his professional career with an emphatic points win over American big-hitter Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia.
Parker was a firm underdog for the clash of two former world champions but he dominated from the outset against his listless 38-year-old opponent and nearly produced a knockout in the eighth round.
The judges unanimously scored the 12-round contest in Parker’s favour, which potentially opens the door to another world title shot.
Parker was already dominating the fight when he caught Wilder with a flurry of punches late in the eighth round, sparked by a wild right hand that connected with his back-pedalling opponent.
The three judges scored it 118-111, 118-110, and 120-108 to Parker indicating they had him winning virtually every round.
Parker shouted “I’m back!” after receiving the decision.
The Aucklander said his preparation had been spot on.
“I have a lot of respect for WIlder but we trained very hard for this. Everyone had plans but this is God’s plan,” he told broadcaster DAZN.
“The strategy was to be really fit, stay calm, stay relaxed. Maybe inactivity played a big part (for Wilder).”
It’s Parker’s fourth win of the year after a points victory over Jack Massey and knockout wins over Faiga Opelu and Simon Kean.
In 2022 he suffered a massive setback when he was stopped in 11 rounds by another Briton Joe Joyce, but has had a stellar year which he attributes to working with Tyson Fury’s camp.
New Zealand’s Junior Fa fought on the opening fight of the card but was well beaten by undefeated Cuban Frank Sanchez.
Fa, 34, defended Sanchez’s attacks well through the early rounds but was caught in the seventh by the 31-year-old before the referee called off the contest, handing him a third career defeat.
Also on the card, British heavyweight Daniel Dubois stopped unbeaten American Jarrell Miller in the tenth and final round while Dmitriy Bivol defended his portion of the world light-heavyeight title with a wide 12-round points victory over England’s Lyndon Arthur.