Whyte and Parker on different paths

first_imgPhoto: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images. Caption: Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker embrace after their heavyweight fight. As a combination, the two heavyweights put on a show worthy of topping the pay-per-view bill at the O2 in London, their contrasting methods meshing together in a way that left the outcome always in doubt right through to the closing seconds.Now, though, they will head in different directions. It was billed as a must-win for both; triumph and a world-title shot was an apparent certainty – lose and risk falling out of the picture, at least for the foreseeable future.In reality, a defeat is rarely as disastrous for your career prospects as suggested in the build-up to a big bout. Opportunities are never too far away in boxing, it’s just your bargaining position that fluctuates.Whyte was the one who prevailed on points, all three judges at ringside scoring the bout in his favour, but not before he had taken a late trip to the canvas that threatened to turn the tables in stunning fashion.Still, the fighter nicknamed The Body Snatcher once again demonstrated he has the stomach for a fight. Chumbawamba’s 1997 hit “Tubthumping” is an appropriate theme for Whyte, who got knocked down, but got up again to triumph.”I’m a savage – I will always get up and fight on,” he said in the post-fight press conference. “There’s something inside of me that, you know… it takes a lot to put me away. A lot.”About last night..what we live for! pic.twitter.com/XMs0brwzGw— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) July 29, 2018Parker and his team knew as much beforehand, though. They only needed to view Whyte’s display against Anthony Joshua in December 2015, when he heroically lost to his rival in a dramatic domestic dust-up – to know he would be a tough nut to crack.Knowing this in advance, his performance offered more questions than answers.The New Zealander started brightly – flashing an eye-catching one-two combination in the opening seconds – and finished strongly, flooring Whyte with a straight right, yet in between struggled to find a way to cope with his opponent’s aggression. He will return home to ponder if he left it too late to produce some of his best work.However, as Whyte’s trainer Mark Tibbs pointed out, the key takeaway was not Parker’s up-and-down performance but Whyte’s statement to the leading names in the division, most notably Joshua and Deontay Wilder.”It’s not what Parker did wrong, it’s about what he [Whyte] did right,” Tibbs said.”What he [Whyte] has done is marvellous, considering the limited experienced he’s had. What he’s done is a feat – a feat and a half.”There are areas for improvement. But, fight by fight, he’s slowly getting experience.”Say it loud and Say it Proud #BodySnatcherMaMan pic.twitter.com/MacxIf2YNz— Mark Tibbs (@MarkTibbsBoxing) July 29, 2018Parker faced questions about his future from the media in the aftermath, but was offered words of comfort from the man who handed him a second career defeat.”With two decent wins, he’s back in contention,” Whyte proclaimed.Parker can undoubtedly rise again – he is 26, has no issue with miles on the clock and has shown enough talent, albeit in occasional flashes, to suggest he belongs in the upper echelon of a division brimming with options.The key for Parker and his team is picking the right opponent next, as well as making sure he is motivated for the right reasons. Having headlined in two successive major events, against Joshua and now Whyte, money should no longer be a prime reason for lacing up the gloves.In contrast, Whyte’s stock has never been so high.”The better the fights, the better I fight. When the chips are down, I roll the dice,” he said.He gambled in choosing to take on the former WBO world champion, yet the risk was worth the reward. The 30-year-old claimed his most notable scalp to date in a professional career that goes from strength to strength, once again doing it the hard way with his willingness to get involved in a scrap.While Whyte can now wait to be seated at the heavyweight top table, the beaten Parker must work out a way to maximise his potential. He only needs to look at his last opponent to see how it is possible to recover from a setback.last_img

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