Veteran heavyweights Joseph Parker and Joe Joyce gloved up Saturday in Manchester, England, with the 37 year old Joyce the on-paper favorite leading into the tussle for the WBO interim heavyweight crown. Rightly so, he has a A plus grade chin. And Joyce found the chin of Parker, with a lead left hook sent Parker on his butt in round 11. The New Zealander, who'd fought a savvy and ballsy fight, couldn't beat the count. Joyce stopped a solid foe who hadn't been stopped before.
The end came at 1:03 of the 11th, and Joe Joyce, who I believe would stop Anthony Joshua if that fight was booked next, hoisted a WBO strap and offered Parker kind words after his fine effort.
The Londoner Joe Joyce entered the AO Arena at 14-0, with 13 KOs, at 271 pounds, while Parker (age 30), from New Zealand, was 30-2 (21 KOs), and 255 pounds. Joyce is trained by Ismael Salas, while Parker enjoyed a “celeb” boost, with Andy Lee in his corner. Lee's cousin Tyson Fury came along for the ride to support. Frank Warren promotes Joyce, as well as Fury, for the record.
In the first, the 6-6 Joyce looked a weight class bigger, while the 6-4 Parker looked sharp early, pressing a bit and moving. Joyce has a short jab which backed up Parker, who respected JJ's power.
In the second, Joe Joyce came forward, stayed in Parkers' face. JJ has a helluva chin, which emboldens him, allowing him to stay close, without fearing counters. Work to the body by Parker stood out, he was mixing low and high smartly. Some blood from the nose of Parker was seen as he went to the corner.
In the third, they traded, and Parker looked the worse for it. The NZ man smartly stayed his ground and tried not to show too much respect for JJ, and Parker landed a couple right hands in the frame.
In the fourth, Parker continued to jab to the body, and impressed with his ring generalship. A right hand, too, it landed flush and Joe Joyce barely blinked hard.
In round five, Parker did well to control tempo, but of course, JJ stayed his course, he kept coming forward
In the sixth, Joyce started strong, he backed Parker up, and wanted to drop a bomb. JP in the second half of the round did well to stay cool, defuse the moment, and stay in the fight. In the seventh, Parker boxed smart, but the announcers told watchers that Joyce was doing better than he actually was. A bad cut formed on the right eye of Parker, so Joyce amped it up. In the eighth, Joyce hooked and jab right at the cut.
In the ninth, same as before, Joe Joyce came forward, seeming impregnable. His thunder appeared after eating an uppercut, and Joyce kept hammering away. Was fatigue getting to Parker? His work rate improved, probably out of minor desperation.
In the tenth, Tyson Fury shouted encouragement to Parker, and the NZ did well to not cave in. His hand speed remained, and he snuck in counters and leads. That was a swell Parker round, his output was admirable.
In the 11th, Joe Joyce started hard, but Parker's defense is savvy, he stayed cool while trying to see everything coming at him. Then, a left, down went Parker. Nope, he couldn't beat the count. The left was a lead hook, it came at Parker pretty darn swiftly for a guy who had a rep as a slow handed, lead footed fighter.