Joseph Parker laboured to a points decision win against Romanian Razvan Cojanu in what was the New Zealander’s first defence of the heavyweight title.
Parker took on Cojanu following the cancellation of a mandatory bout with Hughie Fury and was maybe guilty of not being fired up enough against the number 14 contender.
Judges at ringside in Auckland scored 119-108 and 117-110 twice in favour of the champion, who moves to 23-0 and on to a possible clash against either Fury or UK rival Tony Bellew.
Bellew, the former WBC cruiserweight title holder, was quick to rubberstamped his interest in facing Parker after giving his thoughts in a video interview prior to the fight.
In the chat with Gareth A. Davies of the Telegraph, Bellew had said the following:
“Joseph Parker is a dangerous, live, little, heavyweight amongst huge giants. That’s what he is in my opinion. But like I’ve just said, dangerous small heavyweight, who I do like the look of if I’m totally honest.
Q: Would you like him to come here (UK) and fight you?
I like the sound of world heavyweight champion, it’s got a nice ring to it but we will have to see, we will see what Joseph Parker wants. It is out of the question for me to go to New Zealand, Australia, anywhere close to that is out of the question.
Q: He’s got to come here then?
Listen, British boxing is now the home of world boxing.
Q: You’d sell out Everton wouldn’t you? You’d sell out Goodison Park to fight Joe Parker, wouldn’t you?
I sold out the O2 in a couple of seconds, when it went on sale it was immediately sold out, I’ve sold out my hometown (Liverpool) Echo Arena on multiple occasions, I’ve done good numbers in the Echo, in Goodison Park, the greatest football ground in the whole world. It’s a fight that I do like, I’m not going to lie to you but there is going to have to be some negotiating done. I have got respect for Joseph Parker, I do think he’s a good fighter, but let’s not mix this up. He’s had his whole career campaigning at heavyweight, I’ve had one fight at heavyweight, and my whole career at heavyweight is better than Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker’s career put together. These two guys wouldn’t even mutter the name David Haye, they don’t even whisper it in the dark because they’re scared he might come out. I took on the monster, I defeated the monster against all the odds, and believe it or not, against all the odds, which I would be against Joseph Parker, I will beat him. Boy, you keep on saying my name, if I put my name, and sign that contract, your title reign is over, it’s as simple as that.
Q: What would he experience at Goodison Park?
Something he’s never experienced before, and something he’s not ready for. I’m the better boxer than him, I’m slicker than him, I’m cleverer than him, me footwork is far better than his. He’s stronger, he’s definitely younger. He does look like a bit of a specimen to be fair. He’s another guy who I look at and aesthetically he looks fantastic doesn’t he. He reminds me of the great rugby player when I look at him
Yes he reminds me of him. So strong looking? He just has that appearance and that persona he gives off.
He’s an islander?
Yes, like a very strong cultural man who is fixed in where he is from but listen, we will sit down, we’ll talk… and if you want to dance with me then you better show up well prepared because I have shown what I do to fighters who don’t show up well prepared. I deal them a bad hand and it could just be the end of him so choose carefully boy, and think about what you’re doing when you sign that contract.