Joseph Parker recovered from being knocked down within the opening 10 seconds to beat Derek Chisora on a cut up choice and hold alive hopes of a shot on the world heavyweight title.
The Briton floored New Zealander Parker at Manchester Arena with an overhand proper to the temple.
But the previous world champion turned the tide and landed mixtures because the bout wore on, whereas Chisora drained.
It proved sufficient to earn a cut up choice 115-113 111-116 115-113.
Chisora, 37, felt aggrieved by the scoring and stated: “I’m beyond getting upset now. It’s difficult. I train hard. I put pressure on, this is the treatment I get from boxing.
“I used to be bringing it. I used to be doing extra energy punches and inside work. I will not allow them to gradual me down. I’ll go once more. I can’t allow them to win. They need to see me retiring however I’m not but.”
Chisora had said he might withdraw from the fight because he had to walk to the ring before his opponent, a threat in keeping with the unpredictability he has served up in over 14 years as a professional.
Some have questioned why he still headlines pay-per-view cards after 10 previous career defeats but the looping right hand that sent Parker to the canvas served as an instant reminder of his threat.
As always, he looked to bulldoze his opponent with constant pressure but Parker – eight years his junior at 29 – was able to build momentum as Chisora slowly faded.
To Parker’s credit, facing such pressure is mentally taxing but he stood up to both the knockdown and an early onslaught before beginning to land good combinations of his own.
In the seventh a one-two followed by a three-shot flurry sent Chisora back to the ropes and pointed to his vulnerability.
In the 10th Parker followed another one-two with an eye-catching short left hook and he teed off on Chisora again in the 12th as he closed in on a 29th win from 31 outings. Only British heavyweights Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte have bettered him.
Asked if winning a world title for second time is a possibility, Parker said: “It’s very achievable. I simply have to get again to coaching. There’s nonetheless lots I can present.
“It was very close fight. I thought it could go either way. He brought the smoke.”
The former champion can look to larger names however the stars on the high of the division possess pure measurement benefits that can make his activity all of the extra tough.
Chisora, in distinction, should seek for a subsequent transfer. He has proven again and again he can give you one thing to go after.
Del Boy’s conundrum – evaluation
BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello:“I made Parker the winner by three rounds but wouldn’t mount a strong argument against the judge who favoured Chisora. It was compelling heavyweight boxing and – coming after Taylor-Jonas – just imagine a night like that with a crowd.
“Parker did properly to get well so shortly from the early knockdown and for me his cleaner punching at lengthy and mid-range was decisive. His sturdiness and resilience had been additionally components and, given extra time along with his new coach Andy Lee, there ought to be higher to come.
“Chisora’s reputation won’t suffer in losing such a fight and the Parker camp have said there should be a rematch – not a difficult sell.”
BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce: “Should this be Derek’s last fight? Can you get enough money for risking your reputation? If there is something out there where he can make the same money or close to what he made tonight, then yes.
“What I do not need to see is him diminished to third on the invoice and be there as a take a look at for someone.
“If there’s another heavyweight out there he can generate that type of money with, let him fight.
“I do not need to see Derek develop into an ‘opponent’ – he is higher than that.”
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