Brits shine in dramatic night of boxing
The British flag was flying high in an enthralling and exciting night of boxing action at the O2 arena on Saturday night. Dillian Whyte defeated Joseph Parker on points and there were also victories for Dereck Chisora and Conor Benn.
Britain’s Dillian Whyte has boosted his chances of a heavyweight title shot with a hard fought victory over former world champion Joseph Parker. The 30-year-old used all his experience to hand New Zealander Parker only the second defeat of his career. In the ninth round Whyte became the first person to ever put Parker on the floor in the 26 fights he has faced.
In the early rounds it looked like it would be the younger Parker who would be victorious, as the 26-year-old was out boxing the Brit, but the heavier fighter used his physicality to get back into the fight. Neither fighter deserved to lose as they both gave it their all but the knockdown of Parker in the ninth round gave Whyte the mental and scorecard advantage.
If the fight had lasted even 30 seconds longer, we may have seen a different winner. In an epic last round, Parker put the Brixton born fighter on the canvas, but the knockdown came too late and the fight went to the referees who scored the fight 113-112, 115-110, 114-111 in favour of Whyte. The victory may see Whyte face a rematch against Anthony Joshua, an opponent who knocked Whyte out in a bad tempered fight in January 2016.
In that fight Whyte hurt Joshua for the first time in his professional career and will be confident of beating a fighter who he beat as an amateur. Another possible opponent is the WBC champion, American Deontay Wilder.
Another British heavyweight boxer in action at the O2 was Dereck ‘Delboy’ Chisora and while his fight against Carlos Takam wasn’t top of the bill, it was arguably the best fight of the night. It was a relentless fight that wouldn’t look out of place as a Hollywood production on the silver screen and has since been described as a “fight in a phone box”.
The fight started at an incredible pace with both fighters trading heavy punches and there seemed little chance of this fight going the distance.
Cameroonian-French boxer Takam was the aggressor for much of the fight, showing a lot more attacking intent than he did against Anthony Joshua in their WBA, IBF and IBO bout back in October last year. Chisora for his part seemed to have a tactic of wanting to tire his opponent out, understanding that Takam couldn’t keep up this pace for the twelve rounds.
Although Chisora was taking some punishing blows, he was at least able to counter well, but the pure aggression and work rate of Takam had put the Brit well behind on most peoples’ scorecards. So it was with a degree of surprise and to great delight of the packed O2 arena when in the eighth round Chisora floored Takam. Takam launched a punch that was smartly blocked by Chisora and the counterattack hit Takam high on the head and sent him sprawling to the floor. The restart of the fight was too quick for Takam as he was once again hit with a thunderous punch and the referee rightly didn’t even consider the count and ended the competition.
Whilst Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora are in the twilight of their careers, 21-year-old Conor Benn, son of middleweight and super middleweight world champion boxer Nigel Benn, was also in action and the action in that fight was just as explosive.
The Greenwich born fighter was involved in a rematch against Cedrick Peynaud. The pair last fought in a thrilling encounter last year over six rounds at York Hall and this time the bout was over ten rounds and was just as exciting and bloody.
On the line was the vacant WBA Continental title and Conor’s three knockdowns of his opponent helped him win a points decision over Peynaud with the judges scorecard showing 98-91, 98-90 and 97-90, giving the youngster his first title.
It was far from an easy victory for Benn. His opponent hit him regularly with heavy hooks and despite being on the floor three times, the Frenchman worried Conor in the last round with a massive right but Conor held on.
Conor Benn is far from the finished product but he remains unbeaten and now has a title to his name. It looks like a bright future for Benn and for British boxing as a whole.