KO drought goes on as Joseph Parker goes distance

Publish Date
Sunday, 22 January 2023, 11:50AM

By Liam Napier

Seeking to ignite another career rebuild, Joseph Parker could not deliver the spectacular finish he craved against competitive British cruiserweight Jack Massey in Manchester on Sunday.

Four months after the damaging first knockout loss of his career against fellow Brit Joe Joyce, Parker desperately wanted an eye-catching display after tumbling from second to eighth with the WBO.

While Parker was never troubled in the unanimous decision victory – the judges scoring the 10-round fight 96-93, 97-92, 97-93 in his favour – he was unable to land the desired knockout blow in a more methodical than revolutionary return on the Chris Eubank Jr-Liam Smith undercard.

The result leaves Parker’s last knockout victory coming against little-known American Shawndell Winters in February, 2020.

Parker controlled the centre of the ring throughout to land several heavy shots in rounds three and four. His best shot of the night came in round six when he caught Massey with a sharp upper cut.

Massey finished with a cut above his left eye but he took Parker’s best shots, and landed a few of his own as the fight progressed, but largely adopted an evasive strategy which made it difficult for the Kiwi to trade as he had hoped.

The fight was competitive at times but blighted, too, by Massey often clenching – a frustrating tactic that saw him deducted a point in round eight after several warnings from the referee.

Despite suffering the second loss of his career Massey, in his first fight as a heavyweight, will take more from this outing than Parker. The former IBO cruiserweight champion was working as a scaffolder prior to Christmas and last fought nine months ago.

After four fights in the last three years Parker is keen to make up for lost time in 2023. Having trained through Christmas and New Year for this return Parker will spend time with family but he is planning at least two more fights this year.

Former British foes Dillian Whyte, Joyce, Anthony Joshua, American Michael Hunter, Robert Helenius and Gerald Washington all shape as possible future opponents but at this point in his career, Parker’s marketability needs a definitive performance to propel him back into contention and reignite interest.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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