MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Former world champion Joseph Parker took another step to becoming a heavyweight title contender after beating Derek Chisora by split decision in Manchester Arena on Saturday.
Parker overcame being knocked down by a right swing just seconds into the non-title bout. The New Zealander, who lost his WBO title to Anthony Joshua in 2018, gradually came back in a toe-to-toe fight that he tipped thanks to his late pressure, cleaner punches, and workrate.
Two judges gave Parker 116-111 and 115-113 scores, and one gave Chisora 115-113.
Parker’s fifth successive win since he lost to Joshua and Dillian Whyte improved his record to 29-2.
Chisora, who lost his one world title shot against Vitali Klitschko in 2012, dropped to 32-11.
Meanwhile, Katie Taylor retained her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO women’s lightweight titles after a narrow points victory over Natasha Jonas in another thriller.
Nearly nine years on from their quarterfinal showdown at the 2012 London Olympics, which Taylor won en route to the gold medal, the unbeaten Irish fighter prevailed again in an equally absorbing 10-round bout.
Taylor’s superior speed and accurate combinations barely won the day from the judges, who scored it 96-94, 96-95, 96-95.
Jonas moved up in weight to take on Taylor after a controversial draw against WBC super featherweight champion Terri Harper last August.
Also, unbeaten Russian boxer Dmitry Bivol retained his WBA light-heavyweight belt when he beat British champion Craig Richards by unanimous decision.
The shorter Bivol was defensively better and landed more eye-catching shots. The judges decided it 118-110, 115-113, and 115-114.
Bivol improved to 18-0, while Richards’ record dropped to 17-2.
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