True warriors can bounce back, says Parsons
Michael Parsons has vowed to return “like a true warrior” after suffering the first defeat of his amateur career at CedarBridge Academy on Saturday night.
Parsons, who was fighting in Bermuda for the first time, lost to Canadian welterweight Alex Navarro via a controversial split decision, which drew derision and jeers from sections of the crowd.
The 38-year-old remains philosophical in defeat and said he fully respected the judges' decision, although he feels his “cleaner work” should have earned him the victory.
“It was a close fight,” said Parsons, whose previous eights wins came while living in England. “I thought he won the first round, I won the second and then it all came down to the third.
“I think I clearly won the third round, but a true fighter like myself can take a loss and bounce back.
“He was coming forward and throwing a lot of shots, but I felt I did the cleaner work and for the majority of that time I was walking him down and being the aggressor. I can't say anything about the judges; they saw what they saw and the crowd saw what they saw. Everybody had a good time.”
Despite being more renowned for his footballing exploits, having represented Bermuda, the now defunct Bermuda Hogges, Dandy Town and Boulevard, Parsons said his first love was always boxing.
“I started boxing when I was about ten, but back then the sport wasn't at the level that it's progressed to right now,” Parsons said.
“I went into football, which I was good at as well, but when I moved to the UK [in 2011] I got introduced to an English [boxing] trainer in the gym one day.
“He asked me if I wanted to compete and I said, ‘Sure, it's a challenge and I never shy away from a challenge'.
“I was like a traveller; I travelled to everyone else's backyard and beat them. I was doing six or eight rounds back then; amateur fighting.”
Parsons insists he will not dwell on his disappointing defeat and hopes to fight again soon in Bermuda.
“I felt I won [against Navarro], but there's no spilt milk over it,” he said. “I have to wake up, go to work, and put food on my family's table. You'll see me again.”
It was Leo Richardson, the Controversy Gym coach, who invited Parsons to compete on the “The Next Greatest” undercard after watching him train at the facility, now located underneath Queen's Club.
“I went down Leo's gym to do some work and he saw how I was boxing and was like, ‘Hey, I need you in this event'. It sounded like a positive thing to do and I'm all about making things happen.”
Parsons believes Bermuda boxing is on an upward trajectory after sparring with Andre Lambe and Tyler Christopher, the island's top two amateurs, while preparing for his bout.
“Tyler is doing really well, technically,” he said. “I really like Andre; he has the ability, the technical level and the combinations. They should both go a long way.”
Since returning to the island, Parsons has been playing for top-flight strugglers Young Men's Social Club, who are bottom of the table with two points from 13 games. Social Club returned to the top-flight last season after an absence of 36 years.
“It's hard down here right now with the football,” Parsons said. “I've been trying to help [Social Club] survive, but guys don't like to train and don't believe in training. When you don't train, it shows on the pitch. I'm just trying to help them get some more points on the board.”