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Hughie Fury ran from Parker all fight and yet one of the American judges awarded the fight a 114-114 draw. The two others - another American, and most remarkably of all, Brit Terry O'Connor, scored it 118-110 in Parker's favour.
O'Connor was originally slated to be the referee, but following the fuss put up by Parker's camp, and in particular promoter David Higgins, he was switched to the judging panel.
It wasn't the statement performance he was after but he will be hugely relieved to escape here with the decision. Once it went to the judges no one knew what would happen. On the final bell the Fury camp erupted, with Tyson jumping the ropes and hugging his cousin.
For what it's worth, the Herald scored it the same as O'Connor and the American because Fury ran all night and refused to engage with Parker unless absolutely necessary.
"I don't think he won the fight at all," Hughie said afterwards.
This was a dramatic night all round. There was a fight in the crowd during an undercard fight and a tense atmosphere built as the main event started.
However, such was Parker's dominance, the Fury supporters had little to cheer about.
Surprisingly, there was a large and boisterous Kiwi contingent in the crowd.
The central Manchester hotel that Parker and his team are staying at is said to be haunted, with one of his entourage apparently visited by a ghostly presence on the first night of his stay, but a defeat here for Parker would have been a real horror show.
Walking to the ring in a "Parker" headband and passing friend and former Warriors legend Manu Vatuvei on the way, the Kiwi looked relaxed and in control from the first bell.
In the first round Parker connected with three flurries to the body, with Fury responding with one. The Englishman was as awkward as expected - unwilling to engage and changing his angles.
Parker connected with a glancing left hook in the second and again went to the body of Fury, but the 1.98m Fury used his height well and was able to lean out of range and, in one flurry, respond himself.
On the ropes in the third, Fury connected with left hand and Parker hit him straight back with a right. It was Parker's best round of the fight at that stage and he caught the vast majority of Fury's pawing left hands on his gloves. The Kiwi was finding his range.
Parker opened a cut above Fury's right eye in the fourth as he upped his aggression - chopping left and right hands forcing Fury to lean on the ropes.
Parker was warned by referee Marcus McDonnell, who was fair as third man in the ring, for boring in with his head but the English ref evened things up when he warned Fury for throwing a "cheap shot". Parker was on target with two straight right hands and an overhand right as he kept up the pace.
The sixth round was the closest of the fight, with Fury finally throwing his right hand. He connected, too, several times, earning cheers at last from the crowd. But Parker throw the best punch of the right - a right to Fury's head in the Kiwi's corner.
Parker connected nicely with a left-right combination, his right hand down the middle again earning Fury's respect.
Fury backpeddled again in the eighth, engaging only once near the end and quickly reverting back to his side-to-side running style.
In the ninth Fury appeared to believe he needed to throw more himself but the round still belonged to Parker, the Kiwi countering with left hands as Fury telegraphed his right.
The crowd became restless in the 10th, sensing the fight was firmly in Parker's control and the defending champion finished it by simply scoring points with his left hand.
The domination continued in the final two rounds. And then the real drama happened.