Boxing: Joseph Parker outlines plan moving forward after knockout loss to Joe Joyce
Joseph Parker knocked out in defeat to Joe Joyce. Video / Sky Sport
Joseph Parker is once again at a crossroads in his career.
On Sunday morning, the Kiwi heavyweight's bid to inch closer to another world title shot was brought to a screeching halt as he was knocked out in the 11th round by British counterpart Joe Joyce in Manchester.
With the interim WBO heavyweight title on the line and the winner cementing themselves as the likely next candidate for a shot at the full belt, Parker met a similar fate to that of Joyce's 14 previous opponents - becoming Joyce's 14th win by stoppage in his 15 victories.
It was the first knockout loss of Parker's 33-fight professional career, as Joyce planted him with a powerful left hook as the two re-engaged after a clinch had been separated.
The break in action allowed Joyce to set his feet, and he loaded up. Throwing the punch from his hip and bringing it upstairs, he caught Parker on the temple as the Kiwi stepped forward behind a jab. The punch sent Parker to the canvas, and he was unable to beat the referee's count.
"I still feel I have a lot to give boxing, I just have to keep working and listen," Parker said at the post-fight press conference.
"I'll just keep going. There's no point dwelling on it; a loss is a loss. It's only a sport that we're in. I'll go back to training and putting in the work. If you dwell on it, then it will hold you back."
"You win some, you lose some. It's not the end of the world."
Parker had plenty of good moments in the bout, but coming into the fight at the heaviest mark of his career (115.84kg) appeared to do him no favours when it came to dealing with the relentless pressure of Joyce.
Joyce has developed a trademark style of constantly walking forward behind his jab and throwing with volume when he has his feet set with his opponent against the ropes. Being able to wear a good shot without so much as taking a backward step aids that style, and it was the case against Parker.
While it was extremely competitive through the opening four rounds, Joyce began to pull away as Parker's output diminished. While he landed plenty of heavy shots throughout the fight, he was never able to get Joyce's respect through his power to deter the 37-year-old Brit from charging forward.
Parker was cut above his right eye in the seventh round, but fought through clear fatigue to come back strong in the ninth and 10th before ultimately being stopped in the penultimate round.
"At this stage of my career, Joe was the toughest challenge," Parker said. "As you saw, the pressure he put on and every time I hit him, he kept coming back. We knew exactly what he was going to do, but everything didn't click as I thought it would. But, hey, it's boxing.
It leaves Parker in a familiar position of having to work his way back from disappointment. At just 30-years-old and having recently signed a multi-fight deal with Boxxer in the UK, Parker has time on his side.
However, the loss to Joyce sees Parker's hopes of returning to a position from which he can challenge for a world title take a hit they might struggle to bounce back from in the current heavyweight environment – with two fighters holding all the belts and constant discussions of unification fights between champions holding the divisions up.
Parker said he didn't mind who he stepped in against next, but said he hoped to return before the end of the year.
"I will fight anyone out there. I don't care who it is. I will fight anyone."