The heavyweight division is going through something of a golden period.
Barely a day goes by without the big men creating new headlines. This weekend, Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker get their moment in the spotlight when they finally meet for the WBO Interim title in one of the most attractive and meaningful heavyweight fights of the year. For the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
Joyce’s relentless forward pressure might just roll him directly into a world title fight; or it could come to a crashing halt at the hands of a world class heavyweight. Nobody can be certain exactly what will happen when the first bell rings which makes this yet another must-see Joe Joyce fight.
“The problem is with Joe that he does get caught. What he does do really well though is grit his teeth, get his way through it and he does grind people down,” Frank Warren told 32Red. “He’s done that a lot and he’s very good at it. We’ve gotta remember that he’s still not had a lot of experience at the top level. This will only be his fifteenth fight. Parker has had more knockouts than Joe has had fights.”
“I think Joe will win the fight in the later rounds”
Parker has the aura of a reborn fighter. The former WBO heavyweight champion uprooted himself from his family and friends back home in New Zealand and transplanted himself into life into Tyson Fury’s extended boxing family in Morecambe.
It was a massive change personally but professionally it seems to have paid dividends. Linking up with Andy Lee looks to have unleashed the aggression in him and – on the face of it – he poses a sterner test than he would have done a couple of years ago when he appeared to have grown a bit stale.
“I look at it and think that he’s had tough fights,” said Warren who has plenty of respect for Parker. “He also had that hard one with Derek Chisora where he won but didn’t put Chisora over [for the count] so I can’t see – or I should say I hope he isn’t – gonna be able to put our man over either. It’s a bloody tough fight though. There’s always that thing in the back of your head with Joe that he does get caught. As a big guy, you really don’t wanna carry on getting hit like that.”
Unbeaten Joyce’s chin is quickly becoming the stuff of modern legend. He has relentlessly walked down opponent after opponent, absorbing as much punishment as necessary to get the job done. That isn’t the masterplan Joyce and his trainer, Ismael Salas, piece together out at his training base in Las Vegas, though.
The idea is to avoid as many punches as possible. Parker is a world class heavyweight and seems certain to land though. If Joyce’s chin does hold up yet again, it seems impossible for the fight not to descend into a thrilling toe to toe battle. But, at 36 and after years of attrition, there is the danger that that rock hard chin can become brittle overnight.
“The fans know it’s gonna be a real tear-up”
“It can happen. As I think about it right now I think Joe will win the fight in the later rounds but I don’t want him taking a lot of stick to get there,” Warren said. “It’s a very intriguing fight and it’s also a really, really good fight. I know we always use the the old boxing adage of ‘styles make fights’. But we have two styles here that we just know are gonna compliment each other. The fans know it’s gonna be a real tear up.
“I think it’s gonna be a really good fight and I’m looking forward to it.”
With such a finely balanced heavyweight title fight just days away it seems crazy to look into the future. But much of the fun of talking about boxing is speculation and prediction. Joyce has been on the brink of a heavyweight title shot for a long time. Victory here will tip him over the edge into a churning mix that includes current WBO champion, Oleksandr Usyk, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. Who he will end up facing is a mystery but he is certain of a shot.
“If he comes through he’s the interim champion so whoever holds the belt has to defend against him,” Warren said. “If they vacate then he’ll be declared the full WBO heavyweight champion. I think by next summer it will be there for him.”