Anthony Joshua 2nd defense of his IBF heavyweight title was a routine one, stopping over matched Eric Molina in three one sided rounds in Manchester this morning. After the fight promoter Eddie Hearn announced that Joshua will meet former champion Wladimir Klitschko in April of next year in what will be a huge fight for the heavyweight division. Last night Joseph Parker won a majority decision in a much more competitive fight with Andy Ruiz jnr in New Zealand to win the vacant WBO title, a title vacated by Tyson Fury who won it from Klitschko last year, due to mental health issues. The fight that stole the show however was Dillian Whyte’s 12 round split decision over Dereck Chisora on the Joshua-Molina undercard.
Parker MD12 Andy Ruiz jnr (vacant WBO heavyweight title)
Joseph Parker won his first world title and improved to 22-0 (18 KO) with a tough, majority decision win over a game Andy Ruiz jnr (29-1, 19 KO). Ruiz started well, coming in behind a stiff jab to the midsection and using a tight defense to keep Parker on the back foot and unable to get off any meaningful punches. Ruiz countered effectively with both hands when Parker overextended and continually backed Parker into the ropes where he scored to the body.
Parker found his range somewhat in an even fourth round but took over in the fifth as Ruiz either slowed down or took a breather and was in control of the bout after seven rounds, scoring with his jab from long range and flurries to the body while Ruiz landed very little. Ruiz had more success in the eighth round but Parker kept him on the end of his jab in rounds 9 and 10. The final two rounds were split on my card with Ruiz taking the 11th with his aggression and Parker using his range and scoring heavily from the outside to take the final round and a close decision on my card.
One judge had the fight even after 12 rounds while the other two favoured Parker with scores 115-113. This was definitely no home town decision, it was a close fight and it could have gone either way but Ruiz’ lack of workrate in the middle rounds was his undoing. He only fought in eight of the twelve rounds and, on my card, he won five of those. Parker definitely showed some weaknesses in his game but again, as in the fight with Carlos Takam, it came against a shorter fighter who put pressure on him. He seems more in his element coming forward. If he is to fight Joshua or Klitschko or Fury he will find himself in a lot of trouble if he is unable to back those men up.
Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KO) is the mandatory challenger for Parker and he has 120 days to make the fight happen. How this has happened is anyone’s guess because Hughie Fury wouldn’t be in the top 20 in the current heavyweight division and I think a rematch would be a much better matchup.
Anthony Joshua TKO3 Eric Molina (IBF heavyweight title)
This was really no more than a sparring session. Joshua didn’t need to do anything except walk forward in order to trap Molina on the ropes and he didn’t have to worry about too much coming back at him. After winning the first two rounds, Joshua dropped Molina heavily for a nine count early in the third and finished him off with the barrage that followed it up.
Joshua did exactly what he needed to do but Molina wasn’t any sort of test for him. We’re still yet to see Joshua in with a top ten opponent so any talk of him being the man in the division (as Eddie Hearn suggested when announcing his April bout with Klitschko) is premature. Joshua, in my opinion, is behind Klitschko, Povetkin, Wilder, Parker and Pulev currently in terms of who he has beaten. He may be able to beat all of those men, but he hasn’t beaten them yet and all of them have better wins on their record than he does. A win over Klitschko would change this but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Klitschko is a monstrous step up in competition from Charles Martin (the worst heavyweight title holder in the history of boxing), Dillian Whyte and Eric Molina.
Dillian Whyte SD12 Dereck Chisora
This was one of the better heavyweight contests in recent memory with Whyte (20-1, 16KO) scoring a split decision over Chisora (26-7, 18 KO) in a gruelling, sea-saw battle. Chirosa got himself in trouble earlier in the week by throwing a table at Whyte at the pre fight press conference but his performance in the fight was superb. Chisora didn’t foul like he is accustomed to and showed that he trained hard for this fight, something that doesn’t always happen, and took the fight to Whyte from the opening bell.
Chisora bulled his way inside early and went to work with clubbing body shots while Whyte fought off the ropes. The first round was close but Chisora landed the better punches in the second and third rounds. Whyte controlled the distance more in the fourth but Chisora continued to back him to the ropes.
In the fifth Chisora had Whyte out on his feet with an overhand right and put a lot of effort into trying to finish the fight. Whyte hung on and came back well in the next round as Chisora needed a breather from his efforts in the previous round. Chisora again hurt Whyte in the seventh round and again followed up however Whyte responded and both men continued to trade punches after the bell sounded to end the round.
Chisora continued to score heavily in the eighth but Whyte weathered the storm and had his best round of the fight in the ninth as Chisora’s output lowered dramatically. Chisora had his last real moment of dominance in the tenth, landing a hard uppercut and briefly wobbling Whyte with a left hook but Whyte controlled the last two minutes of the round to take it on my card. The eleventh round was one way traffic from Whyte as Chisora barely had the energy to walk off the ropes. Both men touched gloves to start the 12th round and while Chisora gave everything he had left and he was easy pickings for Whyte from range. Chisora found himself on the canvas midway through the final round however referee Terry O’Conner called it a slip. Both men traded to the final bell in a fight that could have gone either way.
One judges scored the bout for Chisora 115-114 score overruled by the other two cards for Whyte by scores of 115-113 and 115-114. With the win Whyte becomes mandatory challenger for WBC champion Deontay Wilder in what will be one of Wilder’s toughest tests. No one would argue with an immediate rematch.
Luis Ortiz TKO7 David Allen
The other heavyweight in action this morning was Luis Ortiz, a man many feel is the best heavyweight in the world. Ortiz’ opponent David Allen was game considering he had only had eleven pro fights however he was target practice for Ortiz, a product of the Cuban amateur system with over 350 amateur contests to his name. Ortiz took his time but slowly upped his output and forced the stoppage in the closing seconds of the seventh round.