NOTES FROM AUCKLAND II: PARKER RETAINS WBO TITLE, PINOY LATE-SUB WINS ON UNDERCARD
By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
Sun, 07 May 2017
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND ? Joseph Parker?s successful first defense of his WBO world heavyweight title made the sports headlines here but a Filipino boxer, born and raised in New Zealand, made his presence felt on the undercard in a rather unexpected manner.
Jerome Pascua was inserted into the fight card at the very last minute as a substitute for Mose Auimatagi, in a six rounder against Joshua Hatherley. The fight was downgraded to four rounds.
Pascua was weighed in around ten hours before fight time but seemed relaxed and was all smiles when he realized that he was speaking to a fellow Pinoy.
?I was surprised when they called me, but think I?m in shape.? He told this writer.
Pascua traces his roots to Nueva Ecija. He speaks a little Tagalog but has the distinctive accent kiwi accent
?I have visited the Philippines a few times when I was a child. But now, my parents told me I have to pay for my flight if I plan to visit again.? He quipped.
Being a last minute substitute usually doesn?t end well. But Pascua already beat his opponent before by a split verdict. But his conditioning for a real fight was doubtful.
But Pascua was clever. He used his lateral movement and was quite evasive. He was accurate and landed enough counters to convince two of the three judges.
Mike Francis and Mike Lambdin had it 40-36 while Fa?amalua Tipi had it for Heatherley at 39-37. Pascua is now 2W-1L.
In the main event, Parker had to deal with challenger Razvan Cojanu?s taunting and trash talking throughout the fight.
When Parker would utilize his lateral movement, Cojanu would yell, ?Run! Run , champ!? and sneer at the champion every time Parker connected.
Unfortunately for the Romanian, points are not scored for teasing. Cojanu was able to take Parker?s best shots but his attempts at countering were few and far in between.
The scores read ? Atty. Danrex Tapdasan (Phils) and Gerardo Martinez (Puerto Rico) both had it 117-110, Deon Dwarte (South Africa) ? 119-108.
Joseph Parker is now 23W-0L, 18KO?s while Cojanu drops to 16W-3L,9KO?s. The fights were held at the Vodafone Events Center with the ringside seat customers in formal dinner attire and treated to gourmet dinners and wine.
Parker is looking forward to bigger fights and possibly unification matches against Anthony Joshua (19-0,19KO?s) who has the IBF and WBA super titles and the WBC champ Deontay Wilder (38-0,37KO?s) of the U.S.
The best fight of the night belonged to George Kambosos,Jr vs Qamil Balla. Two Aussies slugging it out in a bloody ring war with Kambosos sealing his win by dropping Balla in the final round. Kambosos got a unanimous nod and Filipino referee Danrex Tapdasan had to sweat along with the fighters in this fast-paced battle.
Russian Umar Salamov beat Bosnian Emil Markic by fourth round TKO to win the vacant WBO International light heavyweight title/vacant IBF east/west Europe light heavyweight. Referee Tapdasan was also the third man in the ring for this fight.
Tim Tszyu, the son of the legendary Kostya Tszyu, stopped Ivana Siau in two rounds. Jordan Tuigamala beat Nigel Elliot by third round TKO and Joseph?s younger brother John Parker won by unanimous decision against Ratu Sailosi Dawai.
PHOTO- Joseph Parker during the weigh-in (left), and Jerome Pascua
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