New Zealand’s Parker claimed a unanimous points decision over optional challenger Cojanu, in the first defence of his WBO heavyweight title.
Parker, now 23-0, claimed 119-108 117-110 117-110 results on the judges’ scorecards, but did little to suggest he can challenge Joshua for dominance in the heavyweight division during a lacklustre contest.
Cojanu was a late replacement for Hughie Fury, who had to pull out of the bout with a back injury two weeks ago, and surprised the Spark Arena in Auckland – Parker’s hometown – by taking the unbeaten 25-year-old the full 12 rounds.
Parker, a 1-200 favourite with bookmakers, was visibly frustrated for much of the contest, unable to hurt his over-matched opponent, who was laughing, smiling and taunting the champion continuously.
The WBO permitted Parker’s handlers to arrange a fight with anyone ranked among the sanctioning organization’s top 15 heavyweight contenders because Fury withdrew on such short notice.
But this fight may well have done his reputation more harm than good – particularly on the back of Joshua’s bout with Wladimir Klitschko last weekend – as he struggled to show any kind of dominance.
Dillian Whyte, working for Sky Sports, was left unimpressed with Parker’s display and took to Twitter to call for Eddie Hearn to get a deal together to allow him to fight Parker.
“I don’t rate joe Parker please make this fight please please @ SkySportsBoxing @ EddieHearn @MatchroomBoxing #TEAMBODYSNATCHER”
Certainly, based on this display, Whyte looks a better bet for the much-vaunted Parker than KO machine Joshua.
Parker’s camp have spoken up a potential unification clash against AJ, but on this evidence looks some way away.