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Parker climbs off canvas twice to beat Zhang

Joseph Parker picked himself off the canvas twice to defeat Zhilei Zhang by majority decision in Saudi Arabia.

The New Zealander was floored in the third and eighth rounds, but refused to be overpowered by the heavy-handed Zhang as his superior work-rate and accuracy was rewarded with scores of 114-112, 115-111, while a third judge scored it 113-113 on the Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou bill.

Zhang took the centre of the ring in the opening round, prodding out range-finding punches before unleashing a left hand that narrowly missed Parker.

A cuffing shot from Zhang knocked Parker off balance in the second, a sign of the southpaw’s power, and a straight left hand sent the Kiwi crashing to the canvas in the third.

Joseph Parker (pic courtesy of Mark Robinson)
Image: Joseph Parker was floored in the third round (pic courtesy of Mark Robinson)

Parker, with a badly cut nose, showed more aggression in the fourth and a right hand wobbled the static Zhang, who was caught by more swift punches in the fifth.

Zhang fired in a few thudding shots in the sixth and briefly bothered Parker with a left punch in the seventh.

Zhilei Zhang squares up to Joseph Parker (Pic: Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing)
Image: Both heavyweights traded powerful punches

Parker was troubled again in the eighth as he took a knee after a chopping punch, but he responded well to the knockdown, firing back with crisp combinations in the ninth.

Into the 10th, Parker raised his work-rate with stinging jabs, and he continued to pick off Zhang with precise punches in the closing rounds to secure victory on two of the scorecards.

Victory earned the WBO interim belt for Parker, who confirmed afterwards that a rematch clause means he will face the Chinese contender again.

Britain’s Ball denied world title

Nick Ball was denied the WBC featherweight title after a split decision draw, despite flooring Rey Vargas on two occasions.

Nick Ball, Rey Vargas (Pic courtesy of Mark Robinson)
Image: Nick Ball battled to a draw with Rey Vargas (Pic courtesy of Mark Robinson)

Ball took command in the second half of the fight, unloading a looping right that left Vargas on unsteady legs in the seventh round, while the Mexican protested angrily after he was bludgeoned to the canvas at the end of the eighth.

In the 11th round, Ball blasted Vargas back to the canvas with a right hand, but one judge scored it 114-112 to Vargas, with the second official scoring it 116-110 to Ball, while the third judge scored it a 113-113 draw.

Israil Madrimov was crowned as the new WBA super-welterweight champion with a dominant fifth-round stoppage of Magomed Kurbanov as a huge overhand right sparked a string of punches that prompted the referee’s intervention.

Mark Chamberlain, Gavin Gwynne
Image: Mark Chamberlain ruthlessly halted Gavin Gwynne (Pic courtesy of Mark Robinson)

Chamberlain stops Gwynne in style

In an all-British battle, Mark Chamberlain boosted his growing reputation with a punishing fourth-round stoppage of Gavin Gwynne, who had suffered a swollen right eye and was taking sustained punishment when the towel came in.

Australian heavyweight Justis Huni had to overcame a final round scare as he was badly hurt by South African Kevin Lerena before he clung on for a unanimous decision win.

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Louis Greene produced a shock victory with a first-round stoppage of Jack McGann

Earlier in the night, Louis Greene produced an upset victory as he floored Jack McGann heavily before the fight was waved off in the opening round.

Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight showdown with Francis Ngannou takes place tonight, live on Sky Sports Box Office with the main event expected around 11pm. Book Joshua v Ngannou now!

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