Joe Joyce fells Joseph Parker in 11th round to win WBO interim heavyweight title

Joe Joyce celebrates after defeating Joseph Parker in the Vacant WBO Interim World Heavyweight Championship fight - Getty Images
Joe Joyce celebrates after defeating Joseph Parker in the Vacant WBO Interim World Heavyweight Championship fight - Getty Images

Joe Joyce lived up to his promise and stopped heavyweight rival Joseph Parker in the eleventh round to inflict a third defeat on the former world champion on Saturday night, in a powerful performance that extends his unbeaten streak to 15 fights - fourteen by stoppage - since claiming Olympic silver in Rio in 2016.

It was an extraordinary fight, with both men shipping huge punches in a contest fought at a relentless pace. Joyce stepped up a level to prove that, in spite of being 37, he possesses the wherewithal to compete at the top level. Parker was awesome in this contest, too, in a thriller.

It was a huge statement from a heavyweight. A destructive force Joyce joins Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte to have beaten the former WBO heavyweight champion, Parker having gone twelve rounds with both British heavyweights.

Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker during the Vacant WBO Interim World Heavyweight Championship - Getty Images
Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker during the Vacant WBO Interim World Heavyweight Championship - Getty Images

The manner of the triumph propels Joyce into the world title picture, with Parker, who had been in camp with Tyson Fury, relegated - just for now - into a nearly-man in the division.

In an exhausting bout, Joyce outgunned a resilient, obdurate Parker who continued to counter-punch his way through the fight as Joyce marched forward, the New Zealander's left eye closing and his right eye seeping claret from a cut in the midway rounds of the contest, which brought the arena alive.

Time and again Parker withheld onslaughts from Joyce, until finally, in the penultimate round, the exhausted former world champion was felled by a left hook to the temple in his opponent's corner. Steve Gray, the referee, counted as Parker climbed to his feet, but there was little need.

The fight, for Parker, was over. Yet what a fight they produced. "Joe Joyce is the real deal - I've said it for a while," said promoter Frank Warren.

"Joe was up against a former world champion tonight, and proved that he clearly belongs at world level."

"One of the best heavyweight fights you’ll see,” said Tyson Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, who was ringside.

"Credit to both, they both did very very well, the better man won on the night.”

With victory, Joyce has earned a shot at Oleksandr Usyk. He was not slow in calling him out. "Usyk," he declared.

"I feel great, and I'm now ready for a world title shot. Let's get it on." After just 15 professional fights, Joyce is clearly ready for the big time.