Samoan New Zealand boxer Lupesoliai Laaulialemalietoa Joseph Parker has revived his professional career with an emphatic points win over American big-hitter Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia.
It was Lupesoliai Laaulialemalietoa who emerged victorious in an unanimous decision win over Deontay Wilder at the ‘Day of Reckoning’ co-main event before Anthony Joshua defeated Otto Wallin in the headline event.
The Samoan Kiwi heavyweight was a firm underdog for the clash of two former world champions, each looking to relaunch their careers at the box office event in Saudi Arabia.
Lupesoliai dominated almost the entire fight, earning a unanimous victory.
The three ringside judges in Riyadh scored it 118-111, 118-110 and 120-108, indicating they had Parker winning virtually every round.
Wilder was looking to put himself in prime position for a 2024 heavyweight clash against Anthony Joshua, but it was Parker who emerged the more convincing fighter.
Parker was looking to stay in contention for world title fights, having last beaten Simon Kean as part of a run of three wins following his defeat to Joe Joyce.
Joseph Parker’s stunning victory over Deontay Wilder has drawn rave reviews from pundits and former pros alike.
Oscar De La Hoya, a former 11-time world champion, agreed and offered a succinct summation on social media: “Parker 12-0.”
World featherweight champion Amanda Serrano was similarly certain about the one-sided nature of the contest: “Horrible performance by Wilder. I gave him not a single round.”
Dangerous fight, tough fight – we trained very hard for this,” Parker said. “We had great momentum coming into this fight. The strategy was to stay calm, stay relaxed, stay focused … every minute of every round. This is a great finish to the year.”
There was only one round in which Wilder got the better of Parker.
“My timing was off a little bit,” Wilder said. “He did a great job of avoiding a lot of my punches. I did feel like I had the upper hand, but things happen. We move on to the next step.”
Parker walked Wilder down round after round, and nearly ended the bout in the eighth round thanks to an assault in which the Alabama knockout artist was saved by the bell.
In the ninth, one of Wilder’s best rounds, he recovered, but even as he pushed hard to find the equaliser, it was never there.
The double-header was expected to set up a March bout between Wilder and the winner of the night’s final fight between Anthony Joshua and Otto Wallin.
Now it appears Parker is in a position to step up in March, with the winner of that fight hoping to get a shot at the undisputed championship, which will be decided on February 17 when Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk meet in Saudi Arabia
The heavyweight division hasn’t been unified this century.
“Today we got the win,” said Parker. “Merry Christmas to us.”
“This is massive – this is the toughest opponent I’ve faced. Practice, work, practice, work. Today was my day.”