Joseph Parker chasing best deal possible for next fight
By Tim Royner: Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker remains a hot commodity in the division despite losing twice in 2018 to IBF/WBA champion Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte. Parker’s promoter David Higgins is open to working with the other promoters to pt the best deal possible for the 27-year-old for his next fight.
It would help if Parker starts fighting in a more aggressive way. He was too passive in his losses to Joshua and Whyte. Parker didn’t show any fire in either of those fights, and he let Whyte rough him up for the first 11 rounds before coming alive in the 12th to put him down. The way that Parker showed pure aggression in the 12th, he could have beaten Whyte he’d shown that same intensity early on. The same goes for Parker’s fight against Joshua. Of course, Parker might not have been able to get to Joshua no matter how aggressive he was due to the referee working the match, who pulled him off of AJ each time he tried to work him over on the inside. Parker was fighting two people inside the ring on the night, Joshua and the referee.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn wants to put together a fight between Parker (25-2, 19 KOs) and former heavyweight world title challenger Dereck Chisora (29-9, 21 KOs) for July. However, Higgins is interested in potentially doing bigger fights than that. Chisora is coming off of an 11th round knockout loss to Dillian Whyte last December. The money would obviously be decent for Parker to fight Chisora, but there are likely better options for him out there than that. With the bad luck Parker had in fighting in the UK against Joshua and Whyte last year, it might not be the smartest thing he could do to go back there to fight Chisora unless the money is going to be huge for the fight. It’s doubtful that Parker will make a massive payday against Chisora, who is a fringe contender at this point in his career, and seemingly going nowhere fast.
“That’s a fight we’re planning for July,” Hearn told skysports.com about a fight between Parker and Chisora that he’s hopeful of making for the summer.
Chisora, 35, is taking a confidence booster fight against Senad Gashi (17-2, 17 KOs) on April 20. If Chisora wins that fight, then Hearn wants to match him up against Parker in July in the UK. It’s a good basic fight for Parker if he doesn’t mind facing a fighter that was recently knocked out by Whyte. Parker would have an excellent chance of out-boxing Chisora, and beating him by a decision. As long Chisora doesn’t hit him with a clubbing shot to the back of the head like the one he hurt Carlos Takam with last July, Parker will likely beat him fairly easily by a decision. There are far better options for Parker than fighting Chisora. Parker would be doing Hearn a favor by fighting Chisora.
If Higgins could work a deal with Top Rank for Parker to face Tyson Fury, it would be an excellent fight for him. Top Rank recently signed Fury to a large contract, and because they don’t have anyone to match him with, he’s fighting little known German heavyweight Tom Schwarz this summer on June 15 on ESPN at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Top Rank needs well known opponents that they can match up against Fury to increase his popularity in the United States. Parker could potentially face Fury if Higgins works a deal with Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing.
There’s also an option of Parker fighting WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder if Higgins works with Wilder’s manager Al Haymon of Premier Boxing champions. Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) will be defending against his WBC mandatory Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) on May 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. A victory for Wilder will still leave him in a position where he’ll need an opponent for later this year. Since Top Rank isn’t interested in putting the Wilder vs. Fury rematch together until 2020, it leaves Wilder in need of an opponent for later in the year. Parker would be an excellent fight for Wilder, as long as Higgins can put a deal together with Haymon and Shelly Finkel.
“It’s very simple. My job is to get the best deal possible for Parker, and it’s halcyon times in boxing with massive money flowing,” Higgins said in talking about Parker. “Eddie Hearn has been great to work with. Arum has been fairly good too. The only one I haven’t worked with is Al Haymon, but we’re basically going to have a sit down with all the major players, see who will put the best offer on the table.”
A rematch between Parker and Dillian Whyte would be an excellent fight too. That’s potentially a better paying fight for Parker than a fight against Chisora. Parker knocked Whyte down in the 12th round and had him close to being knocked out in their fight on July 28 last year at the O2 Arena in London. That was a fight in which Whyte got credit for a knockdown in round 2 in which he clashed heads with Parker. The referee Ian John Lewis blew the call in giving Whyte credit for the head-butt knockdown. Whyte got away with a lot of roughhouse tactics that arguably should have led to point deductions. Parker came back later in the fight, and hurt Whyte with a series of power punches to drop him in the 12th round. Whyte is unlikely to want to fight Parker a second time, because he’s more interested in getting a world title shot against WBC champion Deontay Wilder or WBA ‘regular’ champion Manuel Charr. Whyte wants a title shot against one of them so that he can use the belt to get a better deal with Joshua.
Parker would like a rematch with Joshua obviously after losing to him by a 12 round unanimous decision on March 31 last year at the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales. Although Joshua clearly won the fight, it was a match that could have been different if referee Giuseppe Quartarone had allowed Parker to fight on the inside. Quartarone seemed to realize that fighting in close is permitted in boxing, so he spent the entire fight keeping the two fighters separated. Joshua was able to use his reach and box from the outside to win an easy 12 round decision by the scores 118-110, 119-109 and 118-110. Joshua can thank referee Quartarone for the victory, because he made it possible for the fight to be conducted entirely from the outside with the way he kept the fighters separated. It was a strange fight to watch. To have a referee working a professional world title of that magnitude, and not seeming to realize that inside fighting is allowed. Higgins likely won’t be able to put together a rematch with Joshua for Parker. The loss to Whyte spoiled that idea.
Whoever Parker fights next, he can’t afford to lose to them if he wants to continue to be a viable opponent for these big payday fights. If Parker can only get the fight with Chisora for now, then so be it. He needs to win that fight and look good without slip ups.