WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES: Leigh Park boxer's glory after gruesome loss of fingertip
A bare-knuckle boxer won the biggest fight of his career just 72 hours after chopping off the top of his finger.
Mickey Parker, 35, was left in agony three days before he was set to box in front of a sell-out crowd at the O2 in London on Saturday.
A door at his Leigh Park home slammed shut on his right hand, severing the tip of his index finger in the process.
But despite the stomach-churning accident, which required surgery this week, he was determined not to let his army of fans down.
Against the pleas of his friends and family, Parker decided to go toe-to-toe with fellow heavyweight Scott ‘Bam Bam’ Welton in the Bare-Knuckle Boxing (BKB) organisation’s January show.
And he was glad he took the gamble as he recorded a miraculous victory to extend his undefeated record in front of former boxing world champions such as Frank Bruno and Glenn McCrory.
Parker said: ‘I was at home with the front door open when I got distracted. There was a sudden gust of wind and it slammed shut and took the top of my finger off.
‘I could see the bit of finger stuck in the door but the first thing that went through my mind was the match. I went to hospital and they said I needed an operation but they couldn’t do it until after my fight.
‘We had 60 people who had bought tickets and paid for hotels but wouldn’t get their money back because it was so close.
‘I could still clench my fist, so I decided to sleep on it. I just couldn’t let people down.
‘My wife told me I was stupid and my coach said I shouldn’t take it on. But my supporters would have lost a lot of money so I went for it.
‘I basically fought with three-and-a-half fingers on one hand. And a lot of people have said they haven’t seen me box any better!’
Parker’s heroic success was centred around a strong jab, which saw him keep his experienced rival at arms length and record an unanimous verdict from the judges.
Following his debut success at the Echo Arena in Liverpool in September, the brave Leigh Park fighter has now won the first two fights of his fledgling career.
Parker admitted he was nervous approaching the fight but adrenaline got him through.
He added: ‘The doubts set in but I thought of the people of Portsmouth. In the ring I don’t know what happened but I was landing jab after jab using my good hand.
‘I yelped when I tried once using my injured hand. It was a good job my opponent didn’t know I’d lost part of my finger.
‘I was just dictating it with one hand. Jab, jab, move and then throwing a few hooks in here and there.
‘He had more experience than me. He’s a big boy who has been there and done it but he couldn’t get near me on the night. It worked perfectly.
‘I’m glad I took the fight. It could have been the worst mistake of my life. I could have gone there, got knocked out and never been asked back.
‘But I came out smelling of roses. I took the gamble and it paid off. I’m over the moon right now.’
Parker is now set for a spell on the sidelines after doctors were unable to save his fingertip.
He had surgery on Monday and is now setting his sights on a return to the capital in the summer for his next bout.
Parker, who trains with former British professional boxer and ABA champion Billy Bessey in Leigh Park, has been bowled over by the reaction to his victory.
But he remains realistic about his prospects in a sport which is growing at a rapid rate.
Parker, who has a one-year deal with BKB, added: ‘The atmosphere up there was absolutely fantastic.
‘And since I have been back, the reaction of the Portsmouth people has been out of this world.
People are understanding the sport a bit more and realising it is not a joke. I have come out of it brilliantly.
‘I would have liked to have gone back to the Echo in March but I won’t be ready. There is another one at the O2 at the start of June. I will aim to be back for that.
‘Glenn McCrory asked me where I wanted to go next and who I wanted to fight but I just trust the BKB guys to get me back out there to keep entertaining people.
‘That’s all I want. I’m not a spring chicken, I know that but as long as I’m enjoying the ride, I’ll keep going.
‘The doctors tried to put the finger back together but it wouldn’t have stayed on so now I’m missing the top bit. I’m just happy I won the fight, though.’