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Joseph Parker beats Derek Chisora to reignite heavyweight world title hopes

Derek Chisora started like a train but ran out of steam as he dropped a split-decision defeat to Joseph Parker.

Chisora dropped Parker after just seven seconds of the first round and although the Kiwi recovered quickly, Chisora continued to push the pace.

The Brit opened up a handy lead in the first half of the fight as Parker struggled to find his rhythm when faced with the marauding Chisora.

Under instruction from new trainer Andy Lee, the former world champion began to edge his way into the bout in the middle rounds as he narrowed the deficit on the scorecards.

And Parker continued to improve in the final third of the fight before being given the nod by scores of 113-115, 116-111 and 115-113.

Chisora was outpointed by Parker

On the undercard, Katie Taylor retained her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles after a wafer-thin points victory over Natasha Jonas in a thriller at the Manchester Arena.

Nearly nine years on from their memorable quarter-final showdown at London 2012, which Taylor won en route to Olympic gold, the Irish fighter prevailed again in an equally absorbing 10-round affair.

Ultimately Taylor’s superior speed and accurate combination punching won the day, with one of the judges scoring the contest 96-94, while the other two gave her the nod 96-95.

It was a second successive world title defeat for Jonas, who will probably take little consolation from being involved in another fight that showcased women’s boxing at its finest.

Chris Eubank Jr returned to middleweight against Marcus Morrison in his first fight under ring legend Roy Jones Jr.

And he produced a composed performance to outpoint his rival over 10 rounds.

“I had him hurt bad in the second round and probably could have ended the fight,” said the son of a legend.

“But I wanted rounds. I wanted to use some of the stuff that Roy Jones has taught me. Experience the instructions he was giving me.”

Craig Richards came up short in his bid to win the WBA light-heavyweight title after losing a unanimous decision to Dmitry Bivol.

The taller Richards, making the step up to world level after beating Shakan Pitters for the British title in December, attempted to establish some rhythm behind his jab, but his unbeaten Russian opponent was faster and slicker for much of the contest.

Bivol was able to dart in and out of range to land the more eye-catching shots although he seemed to tire down the stretch, allowing Richards to rally for a strong finish.

However, Bivol was given the nod by all three judges with scores of 118-110, 115-113 and 115-114 as he extended his record to 18 wins from as many fights while Richards suffered the second loss of his 19-fight professional career.

There was a shock defeat for James Tennyson who was KO’d in the first round by Jovanni Straffon.

And there were wins for Johnny Fisher, Campbell Hatton and Scott Fitzgerald.




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