Samoa now boasts a Boxing Heavyweight Champion of the World in Lupesoliai Laaulialemalietoa Joseph Parker who outscored Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr at Vector Arena in Auckland to claim the WBO Belt and Title at the young age of 24 years.
It was close. There is no doubt about that.
Parker won by a Majority Decision (MD) with two judges giving him the fight and the third saw it as even.
Judge Salven Lagumbay of the Philippines scored the fight as a draw, 114-114. Then came the announcement of the next two judges’ cards.
Ramon Cerdan of Argentina and Ingo Barrabas of Germany both scored the fight 115-113, in favour of Joseph Parker.
Boxing purists around New Zealand and the world this morning are backing the majority decision of the judges although some are unhappy with the result.
Writing for TheRing.Com boxing commentator Tom Gray was convinced of Parker’s scoring jab particularly in the later rounds.
Dan Finger of Fighting News saw it as a Parker victory, because Ruiz stopped fighting in the middle rounds. "Going into the eleventh round it appeared that Ruiz needed a knockout to win, and sensing the danger he was in, he fought accordingly,” said Finger.
But the big KO did not come, and Parker was able to jab his way to victory. Scott Christ of BadLeftHooks saw the judges’ majority decision as the right one on the night.
"Ruiz is going to be kicking himself, most likely, for not doing a bit more in the middle rounds, especially, after a solid start where he won at least two of the first three rounds," Christ wrote.
Parker won the fight because he took control of the later rounds and deservedly got the judges’ call to win the title.
All the rhetoric does not matter one iota now. Parker won and the rest is history.
From where I was sitting with the other working media, I saw a struggling Parker in the early rounds. He seemed nervous in the first four rounds.
He then settled and used the jab a lot. He confirmed that after the fight in his first interview as Champion. "I felt when I used my jab everything went well."
Kevin Barry, Parker’s trainer, mentor and coach was over the moon with the victory. Not only for Joseph Parker but for his late father, Kevin Barry Senior who wanted to see his son train a world champion. The Barry’s like all of us, can now toast the new Heavyweight Champion of the World – Joseph Parker.