Joseph Parker’s comeback fight has been confirmed. The Kiwi heavyweight will take on England’s Dillian Whyte at The O2 in London on July 28, in his first bout since losing his unbeaten record to fellow Englishman Anthony Joshua in Wales in April. Whyte made Joshua stagger with a left hook when they fought for the British heavyweight title in 2015, but was knocked out in the end, a fate Parker avoided when his turn came earlier this year.
“We’ve both been in with AJ. One of us ended the fight on our feet, the other didn’t. That pretty much speaks for itself,” said Parker, who is the only fighter to go the distance with Joshua, now the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion.
“I’m really looking forward to fighting Dillian. He’s got a big mouth and says some funny things – and he’s also highly entertaining in the ring. It’ll be an incredible fight. There’s no doubt about that.”
Whyte bears the moniker ‘The Body Snatcher’ and is promising “blood, pain and a knockout”.
“Parker’s a good fighter but he didn’t show much courage against Joshua,” he said.
“Hopefully he’ll be a bit more adventurous and come to have a fight against me.
“I like challenges and I rise to them, this is a big fight and I’ll be training very hard as always. There’s a massive incentive there to try and stop him.
“Beating Parker should almost guarantee me a world title shot but let’s see. He’s going to be very desperate, I’m expecting the best Joseph Parker because he can’t afford to have back-to-back defeats.”
Parker’s promoter David Higgins predicted the fight would be the most compelling heavyweight contest of the year, with the winner likely to earn the rematch with Joshua they desire.
“This a proper 50-50 fight,” he said. “It could go either way. That makes it the most interesting heavyweight fight this year.
“It’s the people’s eliminator. Whyte shook up Joshua and Parker is the first man to take him the distance. There’s no doubt the winner should move into a mandatory challenger spot.”
In securing this fight, Higgins has reached a deal with promoter Eddie Hearn, who he worked with to put on the Parker-Joshua fight.
“This fight came out of nowhere and I can’t quite believe it’s happening,” Hearn said.
“Two guys that will fight anyone agreed a fight within hours and now we have the prospect of a brilliant heavyweight match up that will play a major part in shaping the division.
“Dillian has become a major force and Joseph is putting it all on the line after taking AJ the distance for the first time. Both want a return shot at the title and a win in such a high profile match up will be more effective than any eliminator – this could be a classic.”