Katie Taylor and Natasha Jonas prove why they should have headlined Manchester

For boxing to progress, Eddie and co need to up their game and hand the likes of Taylor and Jonas the limelight over faded heavyweights.

Katie Taylor and Natasha Jonas stole the show last night and proved they should have been the main event last night.

In an instant classic, Taylor - defending all four major world titles at lightweight - won the thriller via decision but was made to work for it.

It was a rematch that had been in the works for almost nine years.

Taylor, who beat the Liverpudlian en route to Olympic glory in 2012, repeated victory once again in 10 rounds of boxing brutality.

Taylor, in her 12th world title fight, had the superior hand speed and punching accuracy, and it proved to be enough with the judges scoring the contest 96-94, 96-95 and 96-95 in favour of the Irish icon.

The "Bray Bomber" had to do it the hard way, however, with Jonas' punching prowess on hand throughout the fight.

Rounds six and seven were standout moments which saw the pair go toe-to-toe and slug it out in front of an empty Manchester Arena.

The following two rounds helped secure victory for Taylor before a compelling final round.

Their first encounter, in England's capital, generated 113.7 decibels at the Excel Arena.

That record may have been broken in front of a full capacity in Dublin or Liverpool and a rematch could be on the cards, according to Promoter Eddie Hearn.

It's the second world title defeat for Jonas, who was controversially denied the WBC super featherweight belt against Terri Harper - a fight which ended in a split-draw at Fight Camp last summer.

"I feel sorry for the main event coming out after that fight. It was a thrilling fight," Taylor told Matchroom Boxing.

"It was probably a bit too exciting for my liking. It was definitely a toe-to-toe battle.

"I definitely showed the heart of a champion and that's what won me the fight in the end.

"Tonight was a brilliant showcase for women's boxing and boxing overall."

The only complaint from the fight was that it should have been above Derek Chisora's heavyweight battle with Joseph Parker.

Chisora demands Parker rematch

We get it. Controversy sells. But not when controversy is a fight put in limbo by a coin toss.

Controversy dominated the result of the main event too.

Parker - New Zealand's first and only heavyweight world champion - earned a split-decision victory over Chisora to extend his record to 29-2.

Scorecards read 115-113 and 116-111 to Parker while Chisra was given one card of 115-113 in Manchester.

Parker had to pick himself up from the canvas in round one after getting knocked down in the opening seven seconds.

The shot itself appeared to hit the 29-year-old on the back of the head, something Chisora was warned about by referee Steve Gray during the bout.

A fight, which saw Chisora threaten to pull out of the fight 24 hours before because of having to walk to the ring first, was a bruisy battle.

Despite making it into a 'dog fight' like legendary trainer Buddy McGirt had asked, Chisora was on the receiving end of yet another points decision.

David Haye had revealed Chisora needed a knockout otherwise he would lose. Haye was proved right.

The pair, who enjoyed a Five Guys burger together backstage, are likely to have a rematch later this year and Chisora hinted it could be on Tyson Fury's undercard. 

Richards falls short, another Mexican upset

Elsewhere, Craig Richards displayed a brave effort in defeat to Dmitry Bivol.

"Spider", making a maiden challenge for world honours, fell short in his pursuit of winning the WBA light heavyweight strap but in no way embarrassed himself against world class opposition.

Bivol, as expected, looked rusty in the ring having not fought since 2019 and banked some valuable rounds as it went the distance.

The scorecards read 118-110, 115-113, 115-114 in favour of the Russian.

The Mexican nightmare continued for Hearn and Matchroom Boxing as James Tennyson - looking to win the IBO lightweight crown - was knocked out by Jovanni Straffon in the first round.

It is the second notable victory by a Mexican on a Matchroom card this year with Mauricio Lara producing an upset of the year contender against Josh Warrington.

Anthony Joshua has given Warrington advice since his defeat, having experienced heavyweight humiliation to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019.

Chris Eubank Jr. also marked his return and overcame a determined Marcus Morrison via unanimous decision in his first outing under Roy Jones Jr. There were also wins for Campbell Hatton, Scott Fitzgerald and Johnny Fisher.

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