When the dust had settled on a highly-charged evening in England's north-west, and after Joseph Parker had walked into the lobby of his hotel to cheers from his relieved family and supporters, he sat in his hotel room still wearing his black boxing boots and reflected on the events of the previous week.

Relieved was an appropriate description of him, too; both how he felt at that moment and a couple of hours earlier when referee Marcus McDonnell raised the Kiwi's hand for his majority points decision, a victory which enabled him to retain his WBO world heavyweight title.

Parker's victory over Hughie Fury at the Manchester Arena, which extended his undefeated professional record to 24 wins, was fully deserved in the eyes of most observers, including this one, but there was an element of luck attached.

An accidental head clash in the fourth round, which opened a cut above Fury's right eye, could have stopped the fight early, and as Parker sat in his armchair and went over the events of the evening, he revealed his concerns at that moment after a reasonably good start to the fight for him.


"I thought, 'damn, because if it's an accidental head clash after four rounds, they can stop the fight and go to the judges'," Parker told the Herald. "I thought 'I better put him under pressure'."

Fortunately, the cut, which initially bled down Fury's nose, was well handled by the Englishman's corner and it wasn't a factor, the fight going the full 12 rounds.

As we have seen in recent boxing decisions, and the widely varying views of the fight espoused on social media and elsewhere, a dominant performance doesn't not necessarily translate to victory or universal acceptance, and the judges may have seen things differently had the fight been truncated.

"On reflection it was a great result and a great way to finish this trip," Parker said. "It was a long training camp, a long time away from home. I thought 'damn, if it goes to a decision then he'll get it because it's his hometown' but I'm thankful the judges... I thought it was closer, but I felt I put him under pressure and landed the bigger punches and he ran.

"But he did good - I knew he was awkward but I didn't know he was that awkward."

Parker, looking forward to travelling home to Auckland for a break, added: "It's up there [in terms of achievements] because everything was stacked against us. Fighting here - in his hometown, the judges and ref and all that...

"I don't feel he took a lot of rounds because his jab was a pitter-patter, it was soft. I was catching it."

Wanting a fast and powerful start, Parker got it, but Fury's ability slip away and then lean out of range - particularly when on the ropes - made him a difficult target.

"There are a lot of things I need to work on when I go back into camp," Parker said. "I need to work on my footwork, pressure, more punches to the body, but in every fight you're learning and getting more experience."

Parker's promoter David Higgins will now look at other opportunities - his man may fight again as soon as December - and he hinted that the United Kingdom is where he would like to continue.

"Seriously, the scene is here because there are so many heavyweights. It's booming at the moment."

Parker had walked to the ring in red and black colours, with a "Parker" headband, while the Ka Mate haka made famous by the All Blacks sounded on the loud speakers, eventually the war cry blending into his traditional ring walk music.

With a surprisingly large number of New Zealanders in the crowd, and one or two New Zealand flags waved, it all served to bring the evening to the boil.

"Back home it is awesome because you have the support from everyone," Parker said.

"Coming here, I felt it was important to show them what gets us into the mood. The haka is one of things that everybody knows. It represents New Zealand. My uncles were there to represent Samoa, so I had the whole package."