Joe Joyce v Joseph Parker
Live on BT Sport
The Manchester Arena again provides the setting for a huge heavyweight clash with world title hopeful Joe Joyce taking on former world champion Joe Parker. This is a fantastic piece of matchmaking from Frank Warren and his Queensberry Promotions backroom staff. Regardless of the result, UK fight fans are the real winners here.
The vacant WBO interim world heavyweight championship belt is on the line, but who leaves with the title and pushes themselves into the reckoning for a fight with Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk? Have your say on the fight-winner market or one of the many eye-catching specials on the Betfair Exchange. But only after you read our big-fight preview.
Joe risks his O
Joyce returns to Manchester with a proud unbeaten record as a professional, with his CV detailing 14 wins from as many starts, with all but one of those bouts ending inside the distance. The 6ft 6inch orthodox boxer from Putney, London, boasts a near-93% knockout average. His size, strength, athleticism and power make him a danger to any fighter competing in the top division.
Joe may have all the attributes of a modern heavyweight, but he also possesses the boxing skills that set him apart from the pack. The 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist took to the professional game without fuss, using his long, battering ram-like jab to break opponents down and score the stoppage.
That's what happened to the previously unbeaten KO artists Daniel Dubois two years ago, with Dynamite falling in ten rounds. Fancy Joyce to score another win? He trades at 1.635/8 to bag number 15 of his career or have a go at another KO/TKO at [4.0]. That'll be more popular than a points verdict, which you can back at 2.56/4.
Parker is back in town
Former WBO champion Parker is a New Zealand-born fighter who relocated to the United Kingdom and is now fighting out of Morecambe, where he enjoys some of the best sparring and preparation. He is no stranger to fighting in Manchester either, with this being his third bout on the bounce in the city. It's the scene of back-to-back points victories over Derek Chisora. Is he on for a hat trick?
Parker has a strong record, winning 30 and losing two with 21 knockout wins and both defeats coming on the scorecards. He was outpointed by Anthony Joshua in Cardiff in a world title unification bout, then went down by the same method to Dillian Whyte at the O2 Arena in London. Since that defeat against the Body Snatcher, Joe has fought six and won six with three stoppages followed by three points wins.
Parker has a decent following in the United Kingdom, so the crowd won't be dead against him on Saturday. Most in the audience have purchased their tickets in appreciation of the matchmaking, knowing this one could end at any second of any round. Underdog Parker can be backed at 2.829/5 for the win, or you can play the method of victory. He's 4.216/5 to win on points for the fourth fight in a row or 8.415/2 to score his first KO since February 2020.
Skills on show
This has all the ingredients of a cracker. Both fighters have boxing ability and will set up to use their skills to win, so it shouldn't be too much of a slugfest. But if one lands a big shot, the game plan could be scrapped with the boxing replaced by a shootout.
Parker is a great fighter, but he's not accustomed to facing an opponent with a height and reach advantage, not to mention his opponent's devastating power. Joyce has the better jab and the power to stop his opponent from marching forward.
Expect a close, hard-fought contest with the Juggernaut's powerful lefthand causing damage and forcing a stoppage in the second half of the contest.