Britain’s Joe Joyce walked through the best New Zealander Joseph Parker had to offer to knock out his rival in the 11th round of a thrilling fight in Manchester.
The heavyweights went toe-to-toe in a back and forth contest before a stunning left hook landed flush on the chin of Parker.
Joyce claimed the WBO interim heavyweight title with the biggest win of his career and now has his eyes set on challenging heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in 2023.
The Briton’s step up in class had been debated after 14 professional fights against lower-level opponents. He turned 37 this week having only turned pro when he was 31 after a late start to his amateur career.
But Joyce showed a granite chin to become the first man to stop Parker, a former world champion.
“Joseph Parker… what a fighter and what a fight,” he said.
“It was a tough fight and praise to Parker. I really enjoyed it and I had to dig deep to get through the rounds. I hit him with everything I’ve got, I tried it all and he was still coming forward.
“I managed to drop him at the end but it was hard work. Usyk let’s get it on.”