Joseph Parker (Yellow) in action during his fight with Afa Tatupu. Photo / Dean Purcell
As it happened: Joseph Parker knocks out Afa Tatupu
Up and coming young heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker (pictured) sustained a serious cut to his left eye but still disposed of NZ heavyweight champion Afa Tatupu early in the second round of their NZ heavyweight bout tonight.
Parker didn't stick to his game plan of fighting like a big man but instead entered into a Samoan brawl with Tatupu, who took a pounding, but also tagged Parker above his left eye.
The injury so bad the ringside doctor almost called off the fight. Bleeding everywhere, trainer Kevin Barry later said the doctor gave Parker one round to get the job done because of the severity of the eye injury, a real shocker which may take some time to heal.
Parker though now has one of the two NZ Boxing belts, after knocking out Tatupu with a flurry of punches early in the second round, and the referee ending it at 1.55 remaining in the second round.
So Parker goes home a winner with a second round KO and will soon head back to Los Angeles to see a plastic surgeon about the eye.
It's over. Parker knocks out Tatupu with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining in the second round. A flurry of punches did the job, the cut is so bad Parker couldn't have gone on much longer. It looks horrendous. But Parker does the job on Tatupu who looked like he'd been hit by a freight train. A complete pummelling of Tatupu from Parker.
They're underway in round one and Joseph Parker is taking it to Tatupu. He's not wasting any time. A big right from Parker. Tatupu doesn't want to give up his title.
Tatupu tags Parker above the left eye, it's a bad cut and he ups the tempo. He launches into Tatupu. The cuts bad, Parker's trying to end this now, the commentators are calling it a "very, very bad cut", as the bout goes to the end of round one. Tatupu's legs are gone.
Kevin Barry wants an early night tonight.
Barry's young charge, Joseph Parker, is taking on Afa Tatupu tonight in a New Zealand heavyweight title matchup and Barry isn't all that fussed about it going the distance.
Tatupu is the current holder of the belt, but everything and everyone is pointing to a victory from 21-year-old Parker, as he looks to keep his clean professional record.
Parker weighed in yesterday at a sharp-looking 104kg, up two kilograms from when he destroyed Frans Botha in his last outing, and he will have a five kilogram advantage over Tatupu.
In Parker's six professional bouts to date, he has been past the third round just once and with tonight's matchup scheduled to go 10 rounds, there is a thought that it might be good for Parker's development to be taken into some of the later rounds.
Barry, however, wasn't all that interested in that kind of talk.
When asked if he would be happy for Parker to be pushed late into the fight, the answer couldn't have been clearer.
"No," he said." We want to finish it early if there is a chance to finish it early."
"It is a 10-round fight and we've trained for a 10-round fight. We've got a plan and if the knockout opportunity comes, it needs to be taken."
Parker wins brutal fight by knockout
By Patrick McKendry - nzherald.co.nz
Joseph Parker continued his education in the sweet science with a second-round knockout victory over Afa Tatupu, claiming the New Zealand National Federation Boxing Federation heavyweight title in the process.
It was a short, but extremely brutal fight at Auckland's Trusts Arena _ one of the most bruising of Parker's short professional career. Parker was hindered at the start of the second round with a big cut over his left eye caused by an accidental head butt which could have been extremely serious if the fight hadn't quickly finished soon after the bell.
The 21-year-old finished it with 1 minute 55 seconds remaining in the second round, catching Tatupu with a straight right hand which sent his opponent into the corner before a flurry of punches sent him straight on to his back.
Parker revealed afterwards that his trainer Kevin Barry was worried about his willingness to go toe to toe with the renowned puncher Tatupu.
"What are you doing?'' Barry apparently told Parker. "You're brawling with brawler. I said, `sorry I'll do my best to keep my distance'.
"The plan was to keep my distance but my mind took over in the Samoan way. I wanted to trade punches. Sorry coach, but we got the belt!''
Barry said the referee had warned him the cut could have caused the fight to have been called off. Barry was told Parker had only one more round to do the job, although in truth it would have been a travesty if the fight was stopped, given the damage the youngster did to the 33-year-old in the first round. "It was a really bad cut but I was able to stop the bleeding. I said you've got one round to get this guy out of here and he did,'' Barry said.
The first round began slowly but soon descended into a war, Tatupu catching Parker with a left to the jaw and Parker responded with a right hand.
Tatupu, 10cm shorter than the 1.92m Parker, was breathing hard and swinging with both hands and they were often connecting.
There was some confusion in the final seconds of the first round. With Tatupu almost out on his feet after a Parker barrage, the referee didn't give him a standing eight, rather the final seven seconds went past with both fighters looking at each other.
There was no doubting the quality of the finish, though.
It moves Parker to seven wins from seven and proves he can take a punch, even if his tactics were a little too naive for coach Barry.
However, the cut - which looked more like a chasm - over his eyebrow will hinder Parker for the next few weeks at least. He was planning to see a doctor tonight.
In an often entertaining undercard, Robbie Berridge beat Argentine Mariano Riva with a third-round knockout, another tough and bruising fight in which Riva went through the ropes in the first round.
Berridge, who improved his record to 21 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw, also engaged in a running battle with a member of Riva's corner, which escalated after the fight.
Sam Rapira with to three wins from three when beating Atalili Fai in a third-round stoppage.
Sam Rapira beat Atalili Fai - third-round stoppage
Julius Long beat Jason Williams - fourth-round stoppage
K'Lee McNabb beat Miriama Smith - split decision
Temuera Morrison beat Boris Sokratov - unanimous decision
Robbie Berridge beat Mariano Riva - third-round KO
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