Zach Parker turned in a big display on his big night and he knocked down Vaughn Alexander twice on the way to a second-round stoppage of the American at the Copper Box in East London.
Parker, 26, is largely unknown and was headlining a TV show for the first time. Yet as the WBO’s No 1 ranked super-middleweight contender, there could be some very big fights on the horizon for him. The 35-year-old Alexander looked a fair test and had never previously been stopped.
But Parker hurt Alexander, the older brother of double world champion Devon Alexander, with a barrage at the bell to end the first round and then did a number on him in the second.
A right around the ear, briskly followed by a clubbing right and three lefts bowled Alexander over in the first 20 seconds of the round and Alexander never seemed to recover, as a hard right sent him over again. Alexander tried to stick it out, but he was not throwing any punches back as Parker loaded up, so it was no surprise when referee Marcus McDonnell waved it over with Alexander trapped in the corner at 1:39 of round two.
“I hope people will take notice of me now,” Parker said. “I thought if I got him out of there it would be late, but I have the power to beat anyone. I showed that there. He has never been stopped before and has been in with top opponents like Anthony Sims Jr, I did it in good fashion. What I am best at is boxing, but I am a good finisher as well.
“Everyone wants my spot now I’m No 1, I’m not far off the mandatory spot, but I’ve just got to be focussed.”
Parker mentioned John Ryder and Chris Eubank Jr as possible future opponents.
“I want to stay active now and whoever the put in front of me, I will beat them with ease,” he said.
British and Commonwealth super-bantamweight champion Brad Foster produced a smooth performance to claim a ten-round landslide decision over Spanish champion Alvaro Rodriguez.
It was a first fight in eight months for Foster, a quick-handed switch hitter, who stamped his authority on proceedings in the first two rounds and controlled the fight thereafter.
There was a fine start by Foster, who hurt Rodriguez with a left hook to the body in the first round and made the Spaniard drop his hands in the second after landing the same shot.
Any thoughts that Foster would be in for an early night were to be short-lived, though, as Rodriguez came more into the fight in the middle rounds, with the switch-hitter Foster happy to move around and box.
There was more from Rodriguez in the fifth round and he finished the sixth well, catching Foster with a good left hook then a straight right as the bell sounded.
Foster regained some authority in the seventh round and Rodriguez was cut in the eighth. The Spaniard began to get a bit desperate coming forward, which played in to Foster’s hands. And Foster landed his best punch of the fight in the final ten seconds, rocking Rodriguez with a left hook off the ropes.
All three judges – Howard Foster, Marcus McDonnell and Terry O’Connor – scored it 100-90, which was possibly a but harsh on Rodriguez but there can’t have been any arguing with the winner. The win saw Foster claim an IBF international belt.
Much-vaunted super-bantamweight prospect Dennis McCann moved to 9-0 as a professional with a risk-free win over Luis Moreno
McCann has a neat southpaw style and good range, although he can be a bit buzzy at times. He boxed at distance, but never got involved, leading to both a landslide points win and a first seven rounds almost entirely lacking in highlights. He got a bit more aggressive in the last round and scored a knockdown as he caught Moreno rushing in with a right hook.
Referee Howard Foster scored it 80-71.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.