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Parker beats Takam by unanimous decision

NZN 21/05/2016

New Zealand's Joseph Parker is guaranteed a shot at the IBF world title after beating Cameroon heavyweight Carlos Takam by unanimous decision in Auckland.

Parker out-pointed his respected rival over 12 rounds, winning the eliminator fight which sets him up as a mandatory No.1 challenger for the IBF belt currently held by Briton Anthony Joshua.

Parker, 24, extended his record to 19-0 while French-based Takam, 35, suffered the third loss of an 11-year professional career.

Two judges scored the torrid fight 116-112 in favour of Parker while a third scored it 115-113.

Parker survived the sternest test of his four-year pro career, with Takam displaying the durability and ring craft to match his high ranking in all of the heavyweight organisations.

The Kiwi had only boxed beyond six rounds once before, when he beat American Sherman Williams in a 10-round decision two years ago.

He hadn't been tested in recent fights but that changed on Saturday in what was dubbed the richest fight ever staged in New Zealand.

Neither fighter was knocked to the canvas and both were still throwing punches at the end of a fluctuating contest which the Kiwi generally controlled with his faster combinations.

Takam showed why he was an opponent Parker's camp were wary of, relentlessly marching forward and piling on pressure with upper cuts and overhand rights.

The taller Parker had the best of the early rounds and appeared to clearly win the eighth and 10th, while most other rounds were close to call.

Both fighters were well-conditioned, leading to some furious exchanges over the closing stages.

Parker said three months of intense training in the United States paid off, suggesting he knew the fight would go deep.

"What a great fighter Carlos Takam is," he said.

"It was always going to be a hard fight. I had to be 100 per cent focused.

"I had to have my A-game. The 12 weeks in Vegas paid off for us."

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