JOYCE CROWNED CHAMP IN MANCHESTER THRILLER

posted on: 25/09/2022

JOE JOYCE BECAME WBO Interim world heavyweight champion in spectacular fashion by ultimately overwhelming a game Joseph Parker in front of a packed house at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday night.

A thrilling encounter was ended by a huge left from Joyce in the 11th round and the resistance of the always spirited Parker was finally extinguished after long periods of relentless pressure.

The former world champion from New Zealand started the fight brightly and many ringside observers had it pretty much level pegging through six rounds.

Joyce then took over and planted his opponent firmly on the back foot, constantly forcing him to the ropes and rocking his head back with alarming regularity.

However, when Parker was cornered, he always responded in kind and, once again, Joyce’s ability to soak up a shot was evidenced.

The fight and the fans deserved a special finish and we got one, when Parker sunk to the canvas in the home corner and referee Steve Gray signalled that a hugely compelling clash had come to a conclusion 1.03 into the 11th round.

“What a highlight reel knockout!” reacted the new WBO Interim champion backstage. “I am very happy. He is a tough warrior who kept on coming forward and I really had to dig deep to finish him off. I thought around round seven he was going and started to feel it a bit more, but he still surprised me with shots.

“Credit to him, I have been in his changing room to wish him well and he is in good spirits. We had a little chat and I took a few pictures with his family. He seems alright and just as a precaution he is going to get checked over.

“Salas was egging me on telling me to finish it in the 11th. I was going for it in the seventh but he was really tough and I had to push the whole way through from that point.”

Joyce then admitted that he does feel something when he walks through the storm of his opponent’s fire, as he did again in Manchester in the process of stopping Parker for a first time.

“It does hurt! But I am tough and the Juggernaut!”

In a feature attraction on the BT Box Office card, Amanda Serrano added the IBF world title to her featherweight collection with a convincing victory over the previous unbeaten Dane Sarah Mahfoud.

Superstar Serrano won a unanimous decision by 97-93 (x2) and 99-92 to win the IBF and retain the IBO, WBC and WBO world title belts, plus she was handed the coveted Ring Magazine belt for her efforts.

A new IBO world champion was crowned at super featherweight with British champion Anthony Cacace defeating an unbeaten title holder in Michael Magnesi from Italy.

Cacace was all class as he was forced to continually quell the aggressive pursuit of the champion, who marched forward with purpose from start to finish. The Belfast man picked him off with jabs and fiery uppercuts, but Magnesi would not be deterred and it was a fight destined for the cards.

It was declared as a split decision, with both fighters being awarded a 116-112 margin of victory and the decisive card coming in from the Canadian judge Benoit Roussel, who scored the contest 117-111 in favour of new champ Cacace.

The only people possibly feeling a little bit short-changed inside the old Manchester Arena were the massed hordes of fans there in support of Nathan Heaney. A nip and tuck encounter with Jack Flatley was ended in the fifth round due to a savage cut above the right eye of the IBO International middleweight champion.

Referee Steve Gray rightly called time on the fight and the scorecards were called into play, with two calling it as 49-46 and the other 50-45 for Heaney, which did appear harsh on Flatley who appeared to be enjoying the upper hand in rounds three and four.

Ekow Essuman is now the outright holder of the British welterweight title belt following a fine display to fend off the challenge of mandatory contender Samuel Antwi.

Londoner Antwi began in a confident fashion and it looked like the unbeaten champion would be in for a tough night, but the threat level diminished from the fifth round onwards and the class and quality work of Essuman came to the forefront.

The three scorecards read 115-114, 117-112 and 116-113. Essuman also retained his Commonwealth and IBF European championship belts.

Raven Chapman won her first belt as a professional following a tough assignment against Jorgelina Guanini. The Omen had too much for the former world champion over eight rounds and emerged triumphant via scores of 79-73, 77-75 and 78-74 to win the WBC International featherweight title.

British super middleweight champion Mark Heffron celebrated his recent successes with a homecoming victory in Manchester over Martin Ezequiel Bulacio that lasted 1.16 of the first round as Heffron smashed his opponent into submission.

Earlier in the evening, middleweight James Heneghan impressed in reaching 8-0 as a pro with a fifth round stoppage of Rod Douglas, with Liverpool lightweight Callum Thompson successfully negotiating his fifth fifth pro fight with victory over Delmar Thomas via 40-35 margin, with Thomas down in the third.

Super lightweight Amaar Akbar outpointed a game Karlo Wallace over four rounds in front of hundreds of his supporters, while cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher had to wait until last to get to work against Toni Visic, who succumbed to the heavy punching Norfolk Nightmare in the fourth.

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