THE RESULT: Despite being knocked down in both round three and round eight, Joseph Parker stuck to his game plan and came on strong in the third act to outpoint Zhilei Zhang and take his WBO interim heavyweight title in Riyadh. Scores after 12 completed rounds were: 113-113, 114-112, and 115-111.

KEY MOMENTS: Rather bizarrely, given he ultimately lost, the two big moments in the fight belonged to Zhang. The first of these moments was created by a picture-perfect left cross he threw in round three which cracked the nose of Parker and left him on the canvas. Not only did the shot land on Parker’s nose, it also happened to break his nose, meaning Parker would have to cope with the injury for the rest of the fight. That he did, however, and although again dropped in round eight, this time by a right hook from Zhang, Parker remained consistent and busy and was able to in the end capitalise on both Zhang’s complacency and lack of stamina.

RECORDS: Parker, 32, is now 35-3 (23), whereas Zhang, 40, falls to 26-2-1 (21).

TALKING POINT: There’s an argument to be made that Zhang’s third-round knockdown was perhaps the worst thing that could have happened to the big man from China. For once he stopped dancing in the neutral corner, Zhang then carried the expression and demeanour of someone who believed victory – a stoppage victory – was now inevitable and as good as guaranteed. Parker, however, was reading from a different script and benefitted from Zhang taking him lightly during the middle rounds. Then, when it was again time for Zhang to get active, it seemed as though it was too late. By that point Parker was flowing, outworking Zhang, and showing impressive composure both up close and from a distance.

QUOTABLE: “This was a great win,” said Parker in the ring after the fight. “I just feel like we’re on the up now. Mr Zhang was a tough man. He knocked me down twice. But Andy (Lee, trainer) was telling me to just stay composed in the corner. I’m very happy. It’s time to go home and celebrate.

“After the defeat to Joe Joyce, I had a win over Jack Massey and still wasn’t happy with my performance. It’s an incredible feeling coming back from that loss and look where we are.”

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: Forget other fights for the time being, what happens next for both Parker and Zhang has already been decided, apparently. “What happens next is I’m fighting Zhang again,” said Parker. “We’re going to do it again. We’re contracted for a rematch, so we’ll do it again.”