Former WBO Heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker scored a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Junior Fa on Saturday night at the Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Before a full arena of spectators, Fa had significant success throughout keeping Parker at distance with his jab, using lateral movement and mixing in right hands. Although this was an effective strategy, Fa’s approach was not the most crowd pleasing and as the fight progressed, Parker’s aggression and harder punches when he was able to land proved to gain ground on the scorecards. This along with opening a cut on the corner of Fa’s left eye with a right hand in the middle rounds ultimately gave him what he needed to earn the decision victory as all three judges scored the fight in his favor. Official scores were: 119-109, 117-111, and 115-113 all for Parker. Joseph Parker advances to 28-2, with 21 Knockouts. Junior Fa falls to 19-1, with 10 Knockouts.
Also on this card:
Undefeated Heavyweight Hemi Ahio scored a seventh round knockout over veteran Julius Long. A rematch from a fight in March 2019 where Ahio scored a six round unanimous decision over the 7’1 Long, the second encounter largely consisted of Ahio coming forward and pushing Long back against the ropes and corners of the ring. Long scored a knockdown of Ahio in round four with a right hand that seemed to be more of a push. As the fight progressed, Long, who is not known for lateral movement became more stationary and unwilling to move. In the process, Ahio landed hard, thudding hooks that eventually forced a badly fatigued Long to lunge forward. A flush left hook to the jaw from Ahio followed and knocked Long flat on his back on the canvas in the middle of the ring. Long’s corner immediately threw the towel in to stop the fight. Long, who hit the back of his head hard on the canvas when he went down, remained on the canvas for a few minutes, but did leave the ring under his own power. Official time of the stoppage was 2:55 of round seven. Hemi Ahio advances to 17-0, with 12 Knockouts. Julius Long falls to 18-25-1, with 14 Knockouts.
In the first of three Cruiserweight bouts on the card, undefeated Jerome Pampellone scored a first round knockout of Antz Amouta, who was making his professional debut. A left hook to the body set off a barrage of unanswered punches late in round one sent Amouta down in pain and unable to continue. Official time of the stoppage was 2:57 of round one. Jerome Pampellone advances to 3-0, with 2 Knockouts. Antz Amouta falls to 0-1, with 0 Knockouts.
This was followed by Panuve Helu fighting to a controversial six round split decision draw with Nikolas Charalampous. In what was a competitive bout throughout, Helu hard success in landing hooks, his right hand, and seemed to be landing the harder shots. Charalampous was deducted a point in round five for low blows and continued to land low blows in the sixth round, but did not have another point penalized against him. Nevertheless, despite having one point deducted against him, Charalampous was able to earn the nod of one of two official judges who split their score of 58-56 between the two fighters. The third judge however, scored the fight even 57-57 resulting in the split decision draw. Panuve Helu advances to 12-2-2, with 11 Knockouts. Nikolas Charalampous advances to 19-3-1, with 9 Knockouts.
In the final Cruiserweight bout on the card, David Nyika successfully made his professional debut with a first round knockout of previously unbeaten Jesse Maio. A single right hook that landed on the back of the head of Maio brought an end to the fight as Maio did not beat the count of ten. Although Maio contended that he was hit with an illegal punch, it was ruled that because he was in the process of ducking under the punch, the blow was legal. Official time of the stoppage was :29 of round one. David Nyika advances to 1-0, with 1 Knockout. Jesse Maio falls to 3-1, with 1 Knockout.
Unbeaten Jr. Welterweight Richie Hadlow scored a second round knockout of Obedi Maguchi. Richie Hadlow advances to 3-0, with 2 Knockouts. Obedi Maguchi falls to 2-4, with 1 Knockout.
Undefeated Light-Heavyweight prospect John Parker scored a four round unanimous decision over Egelani Taito, who was making his professional debut. Official scores were: 40-36 (On all three scorecards) in favor of Parker.John Parker advances to 6-0, with 2 Knockouts. Egelani Taito falls to 0-1, with 0 Knockouts.
In an amateur Super-Heavyweight bout, Phil Telea scored a three round decision over Niro Iuta. Phil Telea advances to 2-1, with 1 Knockout . Niro Iuta falls to 1-2, with 0 Knockouts.* (*Amateur Records)
The fight between Joseph Parker and Junior Fa was actually the fifth time the two top ten rated Heavyweights have competed against each other after split four bouts against each other as amateurs. With Parker now victorious, he takes one step closer to another opportunity at a world championship.
Although this card featured a nearly full arena of spectators akin to how Boxing cards are usually staged under normal circumstances, a sobering reality occurred as it was announced to the crowd in attendance during the card that the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern had held an emergency press conference earlier in the evening (New Zealand time) to announce that Auckland would be going back on a level 3 lockdown beginning tomorrow morning for seven days due to a new COVID-19 case of unknown origin emerging in the region. While it is certainly understandable that Boxing promoters, sports leagues, and yes fans around the world are eager to return to some semblance of normalcy, this is yet another reminder of how serious the global COVID-19 epidemic continues to be and why all need to take it seriously around the world.
One can only hope after an exciting night of Boxing for the people of New Zealand and quite frankly a glimpse of normalcy, with other parts of the world including here in the United States starting to begin the process of opening up sporting events to the general public, that this lockdown for the people of New Zealand is temporary and not something that is an indication of a more serious problem related to the COVID-19 virus that will lead to further lockdowns not only in New Zealand, but around the world as well.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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