MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Joseph Parker prevented the Fury family from reclaiming a world heavyweight title by beating Hughie Fury by a majority decision on Saturday, with the judges rewarding the New Zealander's attacking approach in an uneventful fight.
Parker failed to land many clean punches but was never in danger against Fury, who came with a game plan of negating Parker's power with his movement and foot speed and then counterattacking.
Two judges scored the fight 118-110 in favor of Parker. The other judge scored it 114-114.
"I felt I won, put on the pressure," Parker said. "It was a close fight, but I felt I came out on top."
It was the second successful defense of his belt, leaving Parker (24-0) to look ahead to a potential fight against WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua. Parker's promoter, Dave Higgins, said the fight could be arranged for the summer of 2018 at a big stadium in Britain.
"I don't care who I fight next, everyone and anyone," said Parker, who was fighting in the UK for the first time and plans for more fights here.
Hughie was attempting to match the achievement of his cousin, Tyson, who beat Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to win the WBA, WBO and IBF belts. Tyson was in Hughie's corner at Manchester Arena and leapt into the ring after the fight was over, mobbing his cousin in an attempt to convince the judges.
It didn't work. The Fury camp said it will be appealing the result.
"Disgusted to be honest," Fury said. "They've ruined peoples' lives tonight. I didn't think the score was right. I thought I won the fight easy."
Fury, who lost for the first time in 21 professional fights, is the subject of an ongoing UK Anti-Doping investigation after low-level traces of the steroid nandrolone were found in samples given by him in February 2015. He has denied any wrongdoing and is challenging their findings, leaving him free to box.
Parker described Fury's wafted punches as a "pitter-patter" and said he wasn't hurt once. Fury landed two uppercuts but lacked power with his punches. His awkward, evasive style didn't make for an entertaining fight in the first sporting event at the arena since the bomb attack in May.