Calm almost to the point of being expressionless as he entered the ring on Saturday night, Joyce was in contrast to his bouncy opponent, flanked by heavyweight champion Tyson Fury at AO Arena.
It was Parker who settled in the quicker as the former world champion looked to deal an early blow, as expected against an opponent often seen as a slow starter.
But Joyce got to work in the third with body shots teed up to slow down his relentless opponent in what quickly became a battle of the chins. With each blow, both fighters showed their mettle and threw back as good as they got with spare change.
The 37-year-old Joyce, unbeaten in 14 pro fights, also mixed in a smart degree of patience to guard against his rival’s unnerving ability to bounce back from the heftiest of blows.
The fight exploded in the sixth with Joyce pushing Parker into the corner to soften him up with a flurry of body shots. Soon, a cut formed above the Kiwi’s left eye as he squeezed through the seventh.
No man had ever stopped Parker in a professional fight however and the rebuttal was swift after he saw off a busy start to the eighth, landing a heavy left-hander. Yet, Joyce’s trademark granite chin enabled him to shrug off blows with increasing ease.
A slower tenth suggested the Brit was ready to settle in for a comfortable points victory but he flew out the blocks in the 11th, ending the fight with a brutal left-hander that sent Parker tumbling into the ropes.
The veteran put himself in place for a mandatory title shot at Oleksandr Usyk after claiming the WBO Interim heavyweight belt as he eyes a world title shot in early 2023.
He said: “It was a tough fight and credit to Parker, he’s improved and I really enjoyed it. I had to dig deep to get through the rounds. I threw everything at him - the kitchen sink, the handbag, everything!”