Fans of Heavyweight boxing have a good fight to check out Saturday when Joseph Parker (24-1; 18 KOs) faces Dillian Whyte (23-1; 17 KOs). The winner will claim a few irrelevant Heavyweight titles, but more importantly, will position himself as an undeniable top 5 Heavyweight. Ring Magazine has Parker ranked the #4 contender in the division, Whyte at #6. The fight takes place this Saturday, July 28 at the O2 in London with a fight time of 1:00 p.m. ET. There’s no US distributor sadly - internationally, it’s available on Sky Box Office.
How do these two stack up?
Parker: 26 years old | 6’4” | 76” reach | orthodox stance
Whyte: 30 years old | 6’4” | 78” reach | orthodox stance
What have these two done recently?
Parker: L - Anthony Joshua (UD) | W - Hughie Fury (MD) | W - Razvan Cojanu (UD)
Whyte: W - Lucas Browne (KO) | W - Robert Helenius (UD) | W - Malcolm Tann (TKO)
How did these two get here?
Ever since Klitschko vs. Fury in 2015, there’s been talk of the next generation of Heavyweights, and Parker’s name has consistently been on the short list of fighters discussed. The New Zealander was making waves for his impressive KOs down under. When he took to the bigger international stage, he kept winning, including claiming the WBO title. But it was a struggle at times, and often against opponents he theoretically shouldn’t have been struggling against. Earlier this year, he got his much anticipated shot at Anthony Joshua and lost a very lopsided decision. Now, we get to see how he responds to that first ever career loss. This could be a telling moment in his career.
Dillian Whyte turned pro in 2011 after a solid amateur career that included a win over Anthony Joshua. He was on the rise as a pro, but was suspended for 2 years in 2012-14 for a failed drug test. He came back and within a year was again facing Joshua. He lost (naturally), but it remains the only blemish on his record. Whyte is currently on a 7-0 run that has included some notable wins over Dereck Chisora and Lucas Browne. This is a huge opportunity for him to defeat a man above him and claim a top 5 spot. Of note: Whyte also had a decent kickboxing career and a 1-0 MMA record before committing to boxing.
What can fans expect?
Parker is going to be worried about Whyte’s power, and rightfully so. We’ve seen how Parker responds to that already, and it’s by working a more methodical fight where he looks to win rounds and take the decision. That strategy has come perilously close to failing him more than once as two of his last three decision wins were majority. I expect this to look a lot like those fights, but I also see Whyte as a step above an Andy Ruiz. Parker is the favorite and the easy pick, but I’ve felt for a while now that the hype was not fully warranted and someone was going to fully expose that, taking the hype for himself. Whyte seems like the man to do it.
Prediction: Dillian Whyte, UD
Who should watch?
It’s at the O2, so you are virtually guaranteed a raucous spectacle type fight. These two also could match up for some good action, and there’s a potential break-out performance from Whyte here. Worth your time if you have access.