By Patrick McKendry in Manchester

It's difficult to overstate the hurdles Joseph Parker had to jump to get this victory over Hughie Fury.

That he cleared them all is a credit to his maturity and mental strength. He is by far the better fighter but Fury had all the advantages here - no travel (Parker flew in from Las Vegas), a hometown crowd, a British referee and a British judge (along with two Americans).

Fury had overwhelming support at the weigh-in which was played out in front of a rogues' gallery and quickly turned feral when Fury lost his nerve and pushed Parker. None of it bothered him.


And he was cool again during his ring walk and entrance - smiling to the crowd, which included many vocal New Zealanders.

A defeat after he dominated the 12 rounds would have been more than cruel. It would have been a stitch-up, so credit must be given to the two judges, including Brit Terry O'Connor, who scored it 118-110 to the New Zealander. The other scored it 114-114.

Judges look at various things when scoring fights, but mainly the number of punches landed, with power punches scoring more, and how busy and aggressive a fighter is. Parker clearly won on all categories but such was the delight at which the Fury camp reacted to their fighter lasting until the end of the 12th round that all sorts of connotations started to present themselves.

Fortunately common sense prevailed and cool heads were kept by the Furys. One of the camp ripped Parker's glittering WBO heavyweight belt out of the New Zealander's hands, but it didn't come to anything. A tussle in the ring between the two camps after the weigh-in nonsense would have been a very ugly end to a fraught week.

By and large, the wider Fury camp appeared to accept the defeat, with the large figure of Tyson motioning to Parker that he was keen for a drink afterwards as the 25-year-old wrapped up his media commitments.

Parker, still undefeated after 24 professional bouts, deserves his victory, his rather large payday of about $1.5million, and his opportunity for more lucrative fights in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Promoter David Higgins is keeping his options open, but the UK appears to be where Parker wants to keep fighting.

Parker's critics will argue that he should have knocked Fury out, and that he didn't throw enough of the combinations that he has become known for. But the 23-year-old Englishman really is an awkward character - in and out of the ring.

Fury leaned back, stayed out of range, and constantly moved with a look resembling growing concern in his eyes. He just wouldn't engage. When he did some near the ring cheered heartily but the cheers were few and far between.

He proved a tricky opponent, which unfortunately for him will probably mean that another lucrative fight will be some way off. He will drop down the rankings and trying to get a voluntary challenge against the likes of Anthony Joshua will not be easy.

Parker, who came forward all night with a look of grim determination in his brown eyes, moves on to bigger and better things.