Parker vs Takam will take center stage in New Zealand tonightAt the Vodafone Events Center, New Zealand, Parker vs Takam played out as a pretty decent, eventful scrap. Prospect Joseph Parker kept the momentum going, winning the IBF world title eliminator with a conclusive Unanimous Decision over well-travelled veteran Carlos Takam. Parker, New Zealand’s 24-year-old Heavyweight hope, now builds his unblemished record to 19 wins, 16 knockouts, while Cameroon’s 35-year-old Takam drops to 33 wins, 3 defeats, 1 draw, 25 knockouts.

While it’s true this scrap was close, the ringside judges’ 115-113 and 116-112 twice were very fair. Here at Boxing Base we saw the 12-rounder 115-113, quite simply because, although Parker was a live body who enjoyed good success, Parker did enough to edge the action. And, while Takam doesn’t deserve to face too much criticism for his performance, he kinda gave the fight away by taking his foot off the gas in a few of the middle and later rounds, despite having Parker in notable trouble.

Takam took advantage of Parker’s eagerness to land big in the opening round by tagging his man with some clean counter left hooks. That shot in particular proved to be the best in Takam’s armory throughout the fight, but Parker soon adjusted his tempo and aggression, which was wise given that Takam, being the savvy operator he is, was looking to time his shots. Takam turned up the pressure in the closing seconds of the 4th, and earned himself a great 5th by unloading some vicious shots on Parker, who had no choice but to start back-peddle.

Takam had made a dent in his man, and even had Parker visibly tiring in front of him, but eased off in the 6th and 7th. The 8th stanza lifted the crowd to their feet, with both men rocking one another with heavy blows. Parker tried to blast out Takam with a flurry at the mid-point, but Takam answered well before the round was through. But then Takam once again gave Parker, who was now blowing air, far too much breathing space during the next few rounds. Takam finished the encounter strong, however, coming forward in the 12th to find a pretty spent Parker.

So what can we take away from Parker vs Takam? First off, let’s give Parker some praise for bagging the ‘W’ in his first true acid test. The Kiwi showed a ton of determination and fortitude, has surprisingly fast hands, understands the importance of softening up his man through downstairs attacks, and fires off solid combinations. Going forward – given IBF king Anthony Joshua is supposedly the end objective – he’ll need to work on his conditioning, no doubt.

In case all of this IBF eliminator business is getting a little confusing, here’s what I make of it: Kubrat Pulev recently shutout Dereck Chisora to become the IBF’s No.2 guy, and Joseph Parker has just beaten Carlos Takam to become their No.1. Things don’t always go how they seemingly ought to in boxing, but it would appear that the IBF will soon be ordering Parker to fight Pulev, with the winner of course going on to challenge Joshua. (Boxing Base’s Heavyweight Top 10 currently has Parker at No.10, Pulev at No.5, and Joshua at No.7).

Personally, I think it would be a very wise move for Parker to hone his skills against Pulev, another step-up, before chasing down Joshua. I don’t need to tell you Joshua is no joke, and if Parker is gassing out and being made to work against someone like Takam, you have to wonder whether it would be better for Parker’s handlers to let Parker develop for several fights more before finding Joshua. Parker is a good fighter, sure, but we all saw what happened to an inexperienced Charles Martin when he got mangled inside 2 rounds by Joshua in April.

Chime in with your own thoughts on Parker vs Takam in the comments below. Where should Parker go from here? And should a world title fight against Joshua – potentially waiting in two fight’s time – be the first or last thing on his mind right now?