The battle of New Zealand took place earlier, as perhaps the most respected current Heavyweight in the business today & former WBO Titlist 🇼🇸🇳🇿Joseph Parker (28-2-0, 21KO👊), and unbeaten, big rising prospect 🇹🇴🇳🇿Junior Fa (19-1-0, 10KO👊) engaged in battle at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand for their contingent to witness first hand. It was Parker who emerged victorious, but was an interesting contest that was fought competitively through 12 rounds.
It was a festive scene with the entire show, rich with New Zealand customs, traditions and symbolism. It harbored an electric atmosphere that galvanized from a full crowd that was in attendance to watch their respective fighters going into battle, and the anticipation was at its ⛰️zenith, reflecting how much this match-up meant to the native land.
As Parker & Fa’s 5th meeting reached the 🛎️opening bell (both were 2-2 against each other in the Amateurs), Parker worked his way inside behind the jab in a crouched position, while Fa was adamant in timing Joe coming in. Towards the end of the round, stunned Parker with a right hand and left hook, wobbling his legs before the rounds conclusion.
Parker comported himself much better in the second round, slowing it down and 🎯targeting Junior whenever he would start to commit. Parker landed a solid 5 punch combination in the final minute of the round. Parker landed his first clean right hand (his money punch) flush on Junior’s jaw, and it forced the big giant to hold immediately, feeling the full brunt of the power that Parker possessed.
Parker showed some relentless work to the body in clinches during the 4th round in sloppy sequences, but scoring punches nonetheless. Fa started to diversify his attack, finding some success along the way, even faking the cross, to land the shotgun jab, which confused Joseph.
Round 6, Fa opened up with a heavy 💥right hand that clipped Parker’s chin. Slowly it appeared that Junior was working himself back into the fight, as he started to get his combination work going. A sloppy 7th round featured more inside work by Parker, capped off with a rare round-housed right hand that found home to the nose as a notable shot.
Parker began to exert his will and tenacity by the start of the 8th round, digging his foot in the canvas and opening up his repertoire. The 9th round, a 🩸heavy flowing cut was opened over Junior’s eye from the follow-through of a missed Parker right hand. Round 10 was a round that Fa needed, falling slightly behind seemingly, and he delivered the best round of the fight thus far, raking Joseph with double right hands.
Parker brought out the grit and tenacity for the 11th round, understanding that the fight was too close for comfort, and he took advantage of Fa, as he was slowing down…perhaps he started to get gassed? or maybe the cut was bothering him, but Parker certainly had the upper hand in the round. The 12th round was a clench-fest, with both fighters over-committing on the power, putting themselves in position to be tied up. They would fight to the final 🛎️12th round bell.
A close fight was once again misrepresented by faulty judging, with 1 card questionably wide, another one, abysmally wide, and one respectable card, but in our estimation, we felt that the verdict went to the right man, and that was Joseph Parker, who escaped with a 📝Unanimous Decision verdict in what was a testy fight. Junior Fa brought his A-game, and proved himself to be a Heavyweight of note to look out for, as he handled himself well against World Class opposition.
OFFICIAL SCORECARDS ✎
✎ Judge #1 = 119 – 109 for JOSEPH PARKER
✎ Judge #2 = 115 – 113 for JOSEPH PARKER ✎ Judge #3 = 117 – 111 for JOSEPH PARKER
PROJECT COMBAT SCORECARDS ✎
✎ Tré Berry = 115 – 114 for JOSEPH PARKER
WHAT NEXT FOR MR. JOSEPH PARKER ON HIS CONTINUED HEAVYWEIGHT JOURNEY?
With Joseph Parker ranked as the #3 contender in the WBO ranking system, he finds himself in an interesting spot. The #1 contender status is held by former Cruiserweight monarch 🥇🇺🇦Oleksandr Usyk, and #2 is held by physically imposing force 🥈🇬🇧Joe “Juggernaut” Joyce, who is fresh off the biggest achievement of his career by physically and mentally breaking previous unbeaten bluechip talent 🇬🇧Daniel “DDD” Dubois.
Hopefully for Parker’s sake, he can find a way to interject himself into the equation somehow, as #1 and #2 are very likely to fight for the interim belt, while Heavyweight Champion 🇬🇧Tyson Fury, and 🥇🇬🇧Anthony Joshua (who holds the WBO belt, among 2 other belts) continue negotiations towards fighting for Undisputed Heavyweight status.
With Joseph Parker being ranked #7 in the world by Ring-Magazine Heavyweight standings, and him possessing a win over former Unified Titlist 🇺🇸Andy Ruiz Jr., the New Zealand fighter remains very relevant to the overall Heavyweight picture, and will have in mind a big opportunity, if not merely facing a tough opponent to follow next on his journey.