1978-12-02 Marvin Johnson w rsc 10 (15) Mate Parlov, Sports Palace, Marsala, Italy - WBC

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1978-12-02 Marvin Johnson w rsc 10 (15) Mate Parlov, Sports Palace, Marsala, Italy - WBC. Referee: Roland Dakin. In a battle of southpaws Johnson (175) proved too much for Parlov (174¾), opening up cuts over the champion’s eyes as early as the second round, and generally dominating him. Scoring with solid body punches, Johnson had Parlov tired and clinching at every opportunity from the third onwards. It all caught up with Parlov in the ninth when he could barely keep going, and in the tenth he was rescued by the referee on the 2.33 mark having taken two standing counts and unable to defend himself. Parlov’s corner had already indicated that they wanted the fight stopped.

Johnson’s next challenger would be Matthew Franklin (Saad Muhammad) who would change his surname to the latter on becoming a Muslim), a man who had knocked him out inside 12 rounds of a battle for the vacant NABF title at the Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 26 July 1977. Since then Franklin had successfully defended three times at the same venue, against Billy Douglas, Richie Kates and Yaqui Lopez, and fully warranted a crack at the championship.