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Junior Fa vs Joseph Parker LIVE: Biggest bout in NZ history as giants face off

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Two of Kiwi boxing’s greatest stars face off on Saturday night in what is being billed as the biggest fight in New Zealand boxing history.

Heavyweight giants Joseph Parker and Junior Fa will do battle in Auckland, the first time two top-five ranked boxers in the world have come from NZ.

But the undercard was absolutely wild – with some low-blow controversy and a ‘circus’ showdown with a 45kg, 30cm difference between two heavyweights.

We’ll have all the action covered in our live blog below!

Watch Junior Fa v Joseph Parker only on Foxtel’s Main Event, on Saturday 27 February at 5.30pm AEDT. ORDER NOW >

Covid lockdown announced mid-event

The pair met four times in the amateur ranks, splitting two wins apiece, but now meet again for the first time in eight years. The victor of this blockbuster could well become the WBO’s mandatory challenger against the winner of Oleksandr Usyk vs Joe Joyce for the Interim Title.

29-year-old Parker (27-2) has only lost to UK superstars Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, but has since rebounded with a KO win (his 21st) over Shawndell Winters in February 2020.

For Fa, 31 years old and unbeaten in 19 pro fights (10 KOs), the bout represents the biggest opportunity of his career. He currently holds the WBO Oriental interim heavyweight title, with his last fight a unanimous decision over Devin Vargas in 2019.

Parker is ranked #3 and Fa #6 with the WBO, with the pair fighting for the WBO Oriental title. That puts the winner in prime position for a heavyweight title shot against the winner of Usyk-Joyce, though Parker has declared he wants to face Derek Chisora before that fight.

Parker weighed in at 108.9kg, typical for his career, while Fa tipped the scales at 118.1kg.

Along with the big weight difference, Fa boasts a reach advantage of 11cm, and 3cm in height.

Parker said he was not looking to bigger things, but was purely focused on victory tomorrow.

“Everyone can talk about the other fights in the future, but my focus is purely on Junior Fa … this is the fight that matters most to me. There’s no point thinking about future fights if I can’t get past Junior Fa.”

HOW TO WATCH

Watch Junior Fa v Joseph Parker only on Foxtel’s Main Event, on Saturday 27 February at 5.30pm AEDT. ORDER NOW >

One of MANY low blows in a controversial early bout.One of MANY low blows in a controversial early bout.Source: FOX SPORTS

CONTROVERSY IN UNDERCARD

In the second televised fight of the evening, Panuve Helu and Nik Charalampous was adjudged a draw in incredibly controversial fashion.

Charalampous landed dozens of shots below the belt throughout the fight. He was warned in the second round, and docked a point in the fourth.

But he continued to target the groin of Helu, despite the referee in the sixth and final round saying multiple times to “get those punches up.”

Commentators called for further point penalties and even disqualification over the dodgy tactics.

But in the end, and following a lengthy delay, the judges called it a draw – both fighters having a 58-56 scorecard in their favour and the third judge calling it a 57-57.

Fans were far from happy, with boos ringing out around the packed arena.

MORE CONTROVERSY!

In the next fight, two-time Commonwelath Games gold medallist David Nyika needed just 20 seconds to claim a KO in his first-ever professional fight.

He caught unfavoured opponent Jessie Maio behind the ear with a right hook after Maio ducked into a shot, sending Maio to the floor.

Bizarre end to boxing bout

Bizarre end to boxing bout

1:31

The underdog complained the shot was to the back of the head – perhaps hoping for a point deduction from the referee – but didn’t get back to his feet inside 10 seconds.

The referee had no choice but to wave off the fight in farcical circumstances, with the win confirmed as a first-round TKO.

Nyika said: “I’m sorry I didn’t get to put the show on I wanted to.”

BIZARRE LOCKDOWN ANNOUNCEMENT

Midway through the night, the ring announcer came into the ring and – in his trademark voice – revealed Auckland would be going into lockdown the next morning.

It was a bizarre moment, with the crowd of 8,000 people in the Sparks Arena booing the news – before cheering when the announcer declared the fights would still be ongoing.

RIDICULOUS FIGHT IN WEIGHT MISMATCH

The final fight of the undercard was something more like a sideshow spectacle than a professional showdown.

Julius Long, a 7’1, 148.2kg monster, was fighting 104.6kg and 6’0 heavyweight Hemi Ahio.

Long spent almost all of the fight on the ropes, copping an absolutely battering, but landing a number of big shots to the smaller fighter – including a knockdown midway through the eight-round battle.

But finally Ahio made the damage pay, flooring Long 2 minutes and 55 seconds into Round 7 in an earth-shaking slam to the ground.

It was an absolutely wild fight, the kind we don’t often see. There was lots of mindgames – Ahio backing off and begging Long to leave the safety of the corner, Long never obliging – and even once or twice raising his hands in a victory celebration.

How to watch the boxing if you’re away from your country

Below we’ve listed all of the best places to live stream the Joseph Parker vs Junior Fa fight online in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

If you’re abroad and discover that your usual coverage is geo-blocked, then the only alternative that we know is to use a VPN to dial in to a country that does have one. The software is perfect for this as it allows you to change your IP address and appear to be in a completely different location – and all through a safe, encrypted connection.

ExpressVPN is the world’s top VPN
We’ve tested all of the major VPN services and we rate ExpressVPN as the absolute best. It’s compatible with loads of devices including iOS, Android, Amazon Fire Stick, PlayStation, Apple TV and such, and we found it secure, speedy and simple-to-use.

Another great perk is the fact that it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and 3-months FREE, so you can see if it’s right for you with no strings attached.

Once you’ve downloaded the software, just follow the prompts to install it then select the location you want to relocate your IP address to – it really is that easy.

– Try ExpressVPN 100% risk-free for 30 days

Ahio, now 17-0, moves Long’s record to 18-25-1.

“Well, that’s a payday for my family,” Long said after managing to regain his feet.

“I knew I hurt him with every shot…he had to fall eventually,” Ahio said.

FULL CARD

Main Event

Not before 8.30pm AEDT

Heavyweight: Joseph Parker (108.9kg) v Junior Fa (118.1kg)

Undercard

From 5.30pm AEDT

Heavyweight: Hemi Ahio d. Julius Long : Round 7 KO

Cruiserweight: David Nyika d. Jessie Maio: Round 1 TKO

Cruiserweight: Nik Charalampous v Panuve Helu — DRAW – 58-56, 56-58, 57-57.

86kg catchweight: Jerome Pampellone d. Anthony Amouta: Round 1 TKO.

LIVE BLOG

Follow all the action in our live blog below. If you can’t see the blog,






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Bulls’ Zach LaVine called cops on ‘obsessed’ fan at his home

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Zach LaVine had an unwanted visitor.

The Chicago Bulls star had to call the police after an “allegedly obsessed” woman showed up to his Chicago home and refused to leave on Thursday night, according to TMZ. 

The woman reportedly traveled from out of state, demanding to speak with the first-time All-Star, who was home at the time.

Police took her a local hospital for mental evaluation, and she has not been formally arrested or charged with a crime.

LaVine, 25, wrapped up first-half action with the Bulls on Wednesday and was drafted to Kevin Durant’s All-Star side for Sunday’s festivities in Atlanta.

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Blake Griffin a free agent after Pistons buyout

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Blake Griffin will be free to sign with the Nets or another interested NBA team after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons.

The six-time All-Star forward “has interest from most of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams,” ESPN reported.

The Nets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors and Clippers – his former team — are among those that have expressed interest, according to the New York Times. ESPN.com added that the Blazers are interested

The 31-year-old Griffin hasn’t played since Feb. 12 while the Pistons attempted to trade him before the March 25 deadline, but they found no takers due to the remainder of his $36.6 million salary for this season and the $39 million he’s owed for 2021-22.

Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
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Griffin is averaging a career-low 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season. He was dealt by the Clippers to Detroit in 2018, during the first season of a five-year extension worth $171 million.



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Broncos send a pretty strong warning to Drew Lock

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Drew Lock is no lock to remain the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2021.

General manager George Paton and coach Vic Fangio both said Thursday that the team expects to bring in competition for Lock, possibly with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.

“Obviously we’re always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard,” Fangio said, according to the team’s website.

“Until we get or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback, like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or certain teams around the league … are used to, we’re going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve.”

Lock made 13 starts in 2020 and tied with Carson Wentz for the league lead with 15 interceptions. He finished 32nd in the league among qualifying quarterbacks with a 75.4 passer rating, ahead of only Dwayne Haskins, Wentz and Sam Darnold.

Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
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“Very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on,” Paton said Thursday. “But I’ve spoken with Drew, I see him every day. He’s here early. He’s working. He really wants to be great. And we’re always going to try to bring in competition at every position, and quarterback as well. But I like the track that Drew’s on.”

Lock, the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Missouri, had started five games as a rookie, winning four of them. Denver went 4-9 with him as the starter last season.

“I’m confident that Drew’s going to continue to improve,” Fangio said. “Drew’s had a great offseason up to this point. There’s not a lot you can do, but he’s working hard on his own, coming over here and getting workouts, and I know he’s doing a lot at home by himself, watching video by himself. He’s got a good setup over there. And he’s doing anything and everything he can to improve, even in February and now in March.”

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