By Charles Brun: Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (32-3, 22 KOs) picked up a confidence-booster first round knockout victory over lower-level fighter Faiga Opelu (15-4-2, 11 KOs) on Wednesday night at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
The 31-year-old Parker hurt the much smaller Opelu with a left to the body and a left to the head. Parker then flurried on the stunned Opelu and dropped him hard with a chopping right to the head.
When a disoriented Opelu drunkenly got up, the referee Ignatius Missailidis waived it off. It’s not that Opelu couldn’t continue.
He looked like he could have taken a few more shots before being put away, but the referee likely took into account that he was getting hammered by Parker and had no chance. The time of the stoppage was at 1:29 of round one.
Parker’s good friend Tyson Fury was at ringside and quickly jumped onto the outside of the ring to congratulate him moments after the fight.
It was a good camera op for the unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Fury, but the fight didn’t get enough coverage for him to take full advantage of being seen praising Parker in victory. Fury did a lot of smiling and turning, craning his head toward the cameras.
It would b interesting if Fury chose to throw a bone at his down & out friend Parker to give him an undeserving title shot as he did recently for the washed-up 39-year-old journeyman Derek Chisora, who had lost three out of his four fights before getting the gift payday from Tyson last December.
Parker is wasting his career
This was his second confidence-booster-level fight for Parker since Joe Joyce stopped him in the 11th round. Before losing to Joyce, Parker had taken five consecutive morale-booster fights from 2018 to 2022 after losing to Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua in back-to-back contests.
It’s difficult to understand why Parker needed to invest four solid years into winning warm-up fights against poor opposition. The quality of fighters he’d been facing from 2018 to 2022 was too low for him to improve from his losses to Whyte & Joshua.
When Parker finally stepped it up again after four years against Joyce, he wasn’t prepared to fight a decent quality fighter and was taken out. After his loss to Joyce, Parker is repeating the process by taking too many confidence-booster fights instead of facing contenders that can help him progress to another world title.
Some would argue that Parker isn’t confident enough to become a world champion again or even a top 10 contender because he’s not fighting the right opposition. Parker seems to doubt himself. Hence, instead of fighting top-level opponent, he’s been fighting these second-tier heavyweights since 2018:
Derek Chisora x 2
Undefeated junior middleweight prospect Nikita Tszyu (6-0, 5 KOs) obliterated the hapless Ben Bommber (5-1, 4 KOs), stopping him in round one. The bout was halted at 2:09.
Welterweight Ben Horn (5-6, 0 KOs) defeated Joel Taylor (9-1, 4 KOs) by six-round unanimous decision. The judge’s scores were 57-56, 57-56, and 58-55.
Undefeated cruiserweight prospect David Nyika (6-0, 5 KOs) halted Louis Marsters (3-5, 2 KOs) in the fourth round.