Joe Joyce vs Joseph Parker: Who Will Win The WBO Interim Heavyweight Title?
Joe Joyce (14-0, 13KO) and Joseph Parker (30-2, 21KO) are all set to go toe-to-toe in a fight in Manchester on 24 September live on BT Sport and ESPN+ at 7:00 PM BST/2:00 PM ET for the interim WBO heavyweight title. There was some initial concern over whether or not the winner of this bout would be given a shot at the title, but this has now been confirmed.
The boxing odds don’t seem to suggest there is too much between these two fighters. Joyce is the bookies’ favorite, but not by much, so this is truly one of those thrilling heavyweight match-ups that could go either way.
The two were actually due to meet in the ring back in July, but the fight was postponed because Parker’s trainer, Andy Lee, was expecting his child to be born around the time the fight was scheduled.
What does the interim title mean?
WBO chairman Luis Batista-Salas explained in a statement:
“In light of the foregoing circumstances and seeking to protect the rights, interests, and opportunities of the remaining contenders in the Heavyweight Division, we rule that an Interim Heavyweight Championship is justified, even more so between the two highest-rated available contenders in the division, the highly regarded undefeated Joe Joyce and the former WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker.”
What does this all mean? By confirming that this is an interim title fight, the WBO has guaranteed that the winner of the fight will get to go up against the winner of Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk, assuming that fight happens. Word on the street is that those two heavyweight powerhouses could face each other early next year, with negotiations ongoing to make this tantalizing unification bout a reality.
Parker has his motivation back!
In the buildup to the fight against Joyce, he has spoken about his former struggles with motivation, and how becoming a father (he now has three daughters) helped him on this
“When I wasn’t a father I was doing boxing for myself because I enjoyed it, but mostly for others,” he said on the Unibet Lowdown.
“I’m not sure how this sounds, but I was doing it more for my dad because it was his dream and I was doing it more for my coach Kevin, who wanted to have a heavyweight world champion.
“When I achieved it I sort of wasn’t the happiest, maybe because it was for them. Now that I have my wife and my kids, in boxing I am a lot more motivated because I want to do it for myself and my immediate family.
“Now I have a purpose. Now I am motivated. Now I am driven. I have my wife and my kids at home who I have left and I have missed a lot of special occasions because of this goal that I have.”
Joyce on the way up!
Joyce, on the other hand, is on the way up. After winning the Olympic silver medal in Rio back in 2016, he has continued to impress, beating prospect Daniel Dubois, before managing to stop Carlos Takam in the sixth round and then beating Christian Hammer in July after the postponement of his scheduled fight against Parker.
A lot of people think of Joyce as a younger fighter since his record only shows 14 professional fights, but keep in mind that he turned professional at the age of 31. He’s 36 now, but his impressive record, both as an amateur and now as a pro, has earned him this high-level fight.
The fact that time is perhaps not on his side will surely give him added motivation going into this bout. He’s still a prospect in spite of his advancing years, and the fight with Parker will be a true test for him and his team. He was also frustrated when the fight was postponed from its original July date, and that could also up his motivation.
Parker has noted that Joyce insisted on inserting a rematch clause into the fight contract, and sees this as a sign of weakness. If Parker were to win the fight, a rematch would be guaranteed. For his part, Parker does not have such a clause, which seems to indicate ‒ at least in the Kiwi boxer’s opinion ‒ that Joyce is running scared.
Joyce is the favorite to win
Most pundits are predicting a close fight, with Joyce as the slight favorite. He seems to have the better momentum going into this fight after his dominant display against Hammer, whereas Parker’s last fight was in December last year, when he beat Derek Chisora by unanimous decision.
Whatever the final result, this fight is sure to offer up some top-quality boxing.