By Craig Daly: Joe Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) bludgeoned former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (30-3, 21 KOs) until stopping him in the eleventh round on Saturday night to capture the interim WBO title at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
After the fight, Joyce called out unified champion Oleksandr Usyk. Joyce feels that he’s going to get a shot against Usyk in 2023 or else he’ll be elevated to the new WBO champion.
Joyce landed a left hook to the head of Parker in the 11th round that put him down. The fight was then halted by referee Steve Gray when Parker failed to get back to his feet in time to beat the count. The time of the stoppage was at 1:03 of the 11th.
Parker, 30, showed a real warrior’s heart in taking the punishment from Joyce to last until the 11th because he looked discouraged by the midpoint of the fight, and it was obvious that he was eventually going to get knocked out.
Joyce bloodied Parker’s nose early in the contest in the fifth round, and then later cut him over his right eye in the ninth round.
Parker landed a lot of huge shots despite him wearing down, but Joyce took them without any problems. Whatever Parker would hit him with, Joyce would return fire and outwork him with shots to the body and head.
“It was a tough fight, and I praise Joseph Parker. He’s improving, and he game me what a tough fight. I really enjoyed it. It was tough in there. I had to dig deep to get through the rounds. I really enjoyed it, though.
“I hit him with literally everything that I’ve got. The kitchen sink, the handbag, everything, and body shots. I tried it all. But he was still coming forward, game, and I managed to drop him at the end. But it was hard work.
“Usyk, I’m very feel. Let’s get it on,” said Joyce.
When the two were at close range, Joyce continued to work, pumping short body shots and not letting Parker rest. The constant pressure and punches from Joyce seemed to take the fight out of Parker, as he couldn’t get a break from the heavy bombardment.
Like in his fight with Daniel Dubois, Joyce did a lot of damage with his powerful jab, which puffed up Parker’s face early. The jabs were almost like power shots, and you could tell that Parker was not enjoying it.
In hindsight, Parker made a mistake in coming in at a career-high of 255 lbs because he looked tired early in the fight, and the extra weight that he’d packed up would seem to me the main culprit.
For this type of fight, Parker would have been better off being as lean as possible because it was going to be a contest that required excellent cardio.
Parker’s power was quite good throughout the fight, but he wasn’t able to match his huge work rate of Joyce, and he couldn’t get out of the way of most of his shots.
It was thought going into the fight that Parker would use movement to try and evade Joyce, but we didn’t see a lot of that tonight. The added weight that Parker packed on for this fight made have made things difficult for him to move the way he otherwise would have.