Joseph Parker defended his WBO Heavyweight title against Hughie Fury in Manchester on Saturday night.
The Kiwi defeated Fury by a majority decision with one judge scoring the contest 114-114 while the other two scored it 118-110 to Parker.
However, just like last week’s GGG-Canelo mega-fight, the scoring system is likely to be the biggest talking point of the night.
The disparity on the scorecards does leave a somewhat bitter taste in the mouth, particularly for the Fury camp. Hughie’s father, Peter, was not long voicing his opinion as he ridiculed the judges’ scorecards post-fight (via The Express):
“My son is sitting there and should have been crowned world champion today, all because of political influence, over here in our own country.
“This is letdown. When you’ve put that amount of work in, if you’re going to win and take someone’s record, win properly.
“Don’t rob young people of their boxing, whatever political pressure was going on. I don’t know what they were watching.”
This was the classic tale of the boxer versus the brawler. Fury danced around the ring utilising his movement and speed while Parker stalked the challenger, walking him down and releasing a flurry of wild punches whenever he felt he was in range. This resulted in very little action across the twelve rounds.
Fury fought with his leading left hand by his side, demonstrating his belief in his movement and jab speed. He was constantly on the back foot and changing direction from left to right whenever Parker could get near. His leading jab was very effective in preventing the New Zealander from finding his range.
For such a big man, he has tremendous speed. The problem for Fury, however, was that he did not inflict enough damage, never putting together any major combinations or releasing his right to attempt a power shot.
Meanwhile, Parker persistently walked Fury down, constantly trying to stop the elusive Brit in his tracks. He looked frustrated at times but did not hesitate to let his hands go whenever he felt he could inflict damage on the taller man.
With the aid of action replay, it was possible to tell the majority of these shots were avoided or at least partially parried by Fury, with only a handful of shots catching clean. However, in real time it would have been difficult to determine how many of Parkers wild hooks were landing and this surely made a big impact on the judge’s scorecards.
Credit to Fury though, he defended most of these and was even able to catch Parker with some clever counters.
Undoubtedly the more aggressive fighter was Joseph Parker. He was the one trying to force the action throughout.
However, Fury never actually appeared hurt and was landing punches throughout the fight, albeit with minimal power.
It was a difficult fight to call. The YouTube punditry team (yes, this fight was a YouTube pay-per-view) were leaning towards Fury for the fight and even after Amir Khan said he believed the Mancunian won the bout. Although a British commentary team scoring in favour of a British fighter may be taken with a pinch of salt.
All of the above makes it a very difficult contest to judge and leaves it up to the judges’ own preferences for scoring the fight. The very fact that there is this amount of subjectivity allowed for scoring a world title fight is a major concern.
For the second consecutive week the result has been overshadowed by the judges’ scorecards and one can only hope this issue is addressed sooner rather than later before the integrity of the sport is further damaged.
Cathal Geeney, Pundit Arena