One of the intriguing bouts on the Boxing schedule for September 24th will take place in the Heavyweight division as former WBO Heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker will face undefeated WBO number one contender Joe Joyce at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The fight, which can be seen here in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+ will be to determine interim championship status in the World Boxing Organization’s current Heavyweight ratings as both Joyce and Parker are the top two contenders for the WBO championship currently held by undefeated unified IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO Heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
While this does amount to an elimination bout to see who the next mandatory challenger as far as the WBO is concerned for its version of the World Heavyweight championship, it is still one of the best fights that has been made in the division in recent times. Parker will come into this fight having been unbeaten four years. In that time, Parker has won six straight fights with three of those bouts coming by knockout. Most recently, Parker is coming off back to back decision victories over longtime contender and former world title challenger Dereck Chisora in 2021.
Although Parker has rebounded well from his loss to former world title challenger Dillian Whyte in 2018 and his loss earlier that year in losing his world title in a unification bout against Anthony Joshua, he has yet to secure another opportunity to challenge for a world championship again. Now Parker finds himself in position to be the mandatory challenger for the world title he once held, if he can defeat Joe Joyce.
Joyce is unbeaten in fourteen professional bouts having scored knockouts in thirteen of those fights. Despite currently having a career knockout percentage of nearly 93% coming into this fight, Joyce will be at a significant disadvantage in terms of experience and more specifically experience at nearly the top level of competition in the Heavyweight division. In his last fight, Joyce scored a fourth round stoppage of longtime contender Christian Hammer in July.
What this fight will boil down to in this observer’s eyes is whether or not Parker will be able to use his experience to his advantage. To be more specific, whether Parker will be able to extend Joyce into the deep waters of a fight also known as the middle and late rounds and put the unbeaten contender in a position where he is not dictating the tempo of the combat. Parker is a good boxer/puncher that has shown in his career not only an ability to go into the late rounds of a fight at the highest level of the sport, but also an ability to gradually outwork his opponents. There have however, been times throughout Parker’s career where he has been caught and knocked down as was the case in his first bout against Dereck Chisora and was also the case in the latter stages of his bout against Dillian Whyte.
Joe Joyce does have the type of punching power that can end a fight suddenly. While some may be expecting that to happen in this fight should Joyce connect flush with his punches on Parker, the challenge for the former world champion that may prove to be easier said than done will be to fight an extremely tactical fight from start to finish and not allow Joyce to dictate how the combat is fought. Joyce meanwhile should not go into this fight expecting to rely on his punching power.
Simply put, Joyce must know the caliber of opponent his is in the ring with and must be prepared to go all twelve rounds if need be. If Joyce goes into this fight with the intention of trying to end it quickly and does not pace himself, it could play into the strategy that Parker will likely be looking to implement by using movement and attempting to out box Joyce.
With the Boxing world still abuzz over Oleksandr Usyk’s recent second victory over Anthony Joshua in August, and recent ramblings of Joshua facing undefeated WBC champion Tyson Fury later this year, the winner of this fight may seem to be on the outside looking in, especially if Usyk has no intention of fighting anyone else than the winner of the potential Fury-Joshua bout. A good performance by either fighter however, may be the fuel that will start an argument for them getting an opportunity to fight Usyk in the near future. With the stakes rising in the division, we will see who will be able to make the next step forward between Joyce and Parker on Saturday night.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Joyce vs. Parker takes place on Saturday, September 24th at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. In the United States, the fight as well as it’s undercard can be seen on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+ beginning at 2PM ET/11AM PT. For more information about ESPN+ including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, and to subscribe please visit: www.ESPNPlus.com.
*Check your local listings internationally.
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