Joe Joyce moved closer to a world title shot by claiming the WBO interim heavyweight title with a stunning knockout victory over Joseph Parker in Manchester on Saturday night.
Joyce improved to 15-0 with 14 wins inside distance with another relentless display, capped by a crashing left hook which closed the show in the penultimate session.
Parker (now 30-3), came in at a career-heaviest 255lbs and landed plenty of leather, but even his biggest shots just rebounded off Joyce’s granite chin with apparently no effect on the 37-year-old Londoner. By the halfway stage Parker was starting to tire and the result appeared almost inevitable. There was no stopping the fearsome Joyce.
Joyce is now the mandatory challenger for the WBO title currently held by Oleksandr Usyk. What is clear based on his recent performances is that ‘The Juggernaut’ will pose a problem for any top heavyweight with that chin and his relentless motor.
Joyce vs Parker report
This BT Sport Box Office show at the AO Arena produced a terrific heavyweight showdown, with the action going back and forth in brutal fashion. It was not one for the squeamish.
The writing was on the wall for Parker in hindsight as early as the second round with his nose bleeding as Joyce just kept coming forward in a bid to walk down the former world heavyweight champion. Parker was firing back but as so many Joyce opponents have found, even their biggest punches failed to put a dent in ‘The Juggernaut’.
By the halfway stage Joyce was in control and his assault saw Parker cut over the right eye in what was a cracking seventh round which saw both men have success.
The signature moment of the fight might have been the huge uppercut Parker landing on the point of Joyce’s chin in Round 9. It did absolutely nothing, with Joyce not even halting his march forward for a split second. It must have been a demoralising moment for Joseph.
It now appeared only a question of whether Joyce could close the show inside distance, though Parker bravely continued to slug it out.
Joyce vs Parker KO
The end when it came was highlight-reel stuff, as Joyce exploded a peach of a left hook of the jaw of Parker to send him crashing to the canvas and a knockout defeat.
It was the first time Parker has been stopped in a 33-fight career, fought for the most part at the very highest level. Proof again that while Joyce may not have the style some purists prefer, he is absolutely the real deal and a formidable force.
‘The Juggernaut’ is clearly now deserving of a world title shot, and we cannot wait to see him get it. Whoever is coming out of the opposing corner is in for one tough night.