Joseph Parker overcame a first round knockdown to defeat Derek Chisora by split decision following a brutal Heavyweight battle at the AO, Arena Manchester.
The New Zealander had a disastrous start, hitting the canvas in the opening seconds, and Parker showed grit along with his classy combinations to secure victory with tallies of 115-113 and 116-111, with Chisora receiving a score of 115-113.
Parker admits the contest was very tight and could have gone either way.
When the fight officially concluded, Parker was not sure if the official judges had tallied him as the winner.
“I am feeling it,” Parker told Matchroom. “Derek landed a lot of shots on me. I’ll probably feel it more tomorrow. The plan was to come out and box smartly and stay focused. I got caught right at the beginning. I think it was round the back of the head, I didn’t see it.
"The plan was to box and move and be smart. With the guidance of Andy I was able to box. We didn’t have the longest time together. I know I needed a lot of work. I need to keep learning from Andy and practicing the things we work on in the gym.
"It was a tough fight and I got caught right at the beginning. I just had to dig deep and stay focused and follow the plan that we had in place. Swayed off a bit, but Derek is a very tough opponent. He came forward, put pressure on me from the beginning. Threw big bombs and landed a lot.
"The boxing skills won me some rounds towards the end. It was a very close fight. I thought it could go either way, and I’m very thankful and blessed to get the win today. He brought the smoke. If you want to feel it, jump in the ring with him.
"It’s very achievable [world title fight]. I just have to get back to the training. There’s a lot of things I have to work on. I had a good plan in place. There’s still a lot I can show, I just have to keep working with Andy, and more camps ahead. We could do it next fight."