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Joe Joyce knocks Parker out in penultimate round

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Joe Joyce punches Joseph Parker during the Vacant WBO Interim World Heavyweight Championship fight between Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker at AO Arena on September 24, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

British heavyweight Joe Joyce (15-0, 14 KO’s) and New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker (30-3, 21 KO’s) faced each other on Saturday September 24. The heavyweight bout was for the vacant WBO interim title, granting the winner the opportunity to face WBO-holder Oleksandr Usyk in the near future.

Both fighters performed well, with Parker taking some of the earlier rounds against Joe Joyce who seemed to gain spurts of energy later on. Joyce’s pressure fighting style, resilient chin and ability to fight through his fatigue culminated in him knocking Parker out in the 11th round, upon Parker failing to beat the referee’s count. The win therefore helped Joyce win the previously-vacant WBO interim world heavyweight title.

As Usyk indicated he would not fight until 2023, the WBO had apparently deemed it necessary to create the interim belt. It is yet unknown who Joe Joyce will fight next, but his status as a WBO interim champion now grants him the luxury of being pushed to the forefront when Usyk is looking to fight, and there will likely be many contenders who will look to beat him to gain an interim status himself.

Usyk holding the Ukrainian flag
Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine celebrates victory over Tony Bellew of England after the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF & Ring Magazine World Cruiserweight Title Fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tony Bellew at Manchester Arena on November 10, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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Oleksandr Usyk defeated Joe Joyce in the amateur/semi-pro ranks of boxing . (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

When asked on who Joyce would want to fight next himself, he seemed confident and clear on who he wanted to face.

“Well, like I said, for the WBO, Usyk.” Joe Joyce answered. “But there’s a lot of options. Tyson Fury, he wanted to have a scrap.”

Joyce also remarked that his fight with Joseph Parker was the toughest fight he had faced. “Yeah, I believe so. Bryant Jennings was a tough fight as well. It went twelve rounds. I was hoping this fight wasn’t going to go to twelve rounds, and that’s why I went to finish it. It was tough. I had to dig deep in there, and then I hit him with the left hook in the eleventh.”

Having knocked out a former world champion in Joseph Parker, Joyce has put the Heavyweight division on notice with his performance. Parker will be looking to recuperate and likely start off with easier opponents before working himself up in a contender position.

Joseph Parker seemed relatively calm and unperturbed after his knockout loss in the post-press conference, and didn’t believe in the notion that he was ‘finished’ in the sport of boxing, despite suffering the third loss in his career.

“I still feel I have a lot to give in boxing. Just got to keep working.” Parker said.