Lupesoliai wins WBO Intercontinental heavyweight belt
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Lupesoliai Joseph Parker beat British boxer Derek Chisora Sunday morning to take the vacant WBO Intercontinental heavyweight belt.
But the bout in Manchester, United Kingdom was not without controversy as Chisora disputed the split decision by the judges, which saw the New Zealand-based boxer extend his boxing career record to 29–2.
According to The Guardian newspaper, the British boxer floored Lupesoliai with an overhand right seven seconds into the fight and he looked off-balance due to the force of the blow.
But from thereon he kept Chisora at bay and used his height to his advantage in the first five rounds in a bid to outmaneuver his opponent.
Lupesoliai only started to come back in the seventh round when some of his punches landed. But Chisora wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and responded with punches of his own as well as uppercuts.
And while Lupesoliai had more structure in his fighting style, his British opponent showed brute strength to continue to respond, though it was only after the seventh round when Chisora began to show signs of fatigue.
In the tenth round both men continued to trade punches with Lupesoliai increasing the intensity and appeared to edge ahead, but not before Chisora landed a right hand on the ringing of the bell in a tight contest.
And in the 12th round the New Zealand-based boxer had Chisora against the ropes but surprised everyone when he chose not to get on with the job to put his rival to the sword.
The judges’ decision at the conclusion of the fight was split 115-113, 116-111 and 113-115 in favour of Lupesoliai, though he admitted it was very close and could have gone either way.
"It was a tough fight, I got caught right at the beginning. I had to dig deep, it was a very close fight. I thought it could go either way,” said Lupesoliai after he was declared the victor.
“There's a lot of things I have to work on, there's still a lot I can show, I need to keep working with Andy.”
Chisora expressed disappointment with the results as he thought he won the fight in Manchester.
"I bring everything and this is the treatment I get from boxing. This is unbelievable. Even his coach Andy Lee said I won the fight,” he said.
“I put in more power punches and inside work, I won't let them slow me down, I will go again. I will not let them win.”
Lupesoliai acknowledged his supporters, families and friends around the world for their well wishes and messages.
The boxing match was telecast live throughout Samoa by local station TV3 Apia Broadcasting Limited.