By Charles Brun: In an odd match-up, Joseph Parker will fight little-known Faiga ‘Django’ Opelu in a twelve round bout for the Commonwealth heavyweight title on May 24th at the Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, Australia.
Also on the card is unbeaten junior middleweight prospect Nikita Tszyu (5-0, 4 KOs) will be fighting Benjamin Bommber (5-0, 4 KOs) in a six round bout.
Why is Parker, a former world champion and top-tier ranked contender fighting this low level of opposition for the Commonwealth title? Parker should be fighting contenders at this stage of his career, not obscure ham & eggers for trinket belts where there’s no gain.
Is it a confidence issue that is plaguing Parker? If that’s the problem, Parker needs to snap out of it fast because he’s done zero with his career since losing his WBO title five years ago in 2018.
What time Is Parker vs Opelu ?
For viewers in the United States:
- Eastern Time (ET) – 5am on Wednesday, 24th May 2023
- Pacific Time (PT) – 2am on Wednesday, 24th May 2023
For viewers in Europe:
- Central European Time (CET) – 11am on Wednesday, 24th May 2023
- Eastern European Time (EET) – 12pm on Wednesday, 24th May 2023
Since losing to a mediocre-looking Anthony Joshua in 2018, Parker has fought these fighters:
- Jack Massey
- Derek Chisora x 2
- Joe Joyce
- Junior Fa
- Shawndell Terrell Winters
- Alexander Flores
The only decent fighter that Parker has fought since 2018 was Joyce, and he LOST to him by an 11th round knockout.
In light of Joyce’s recent sixth round stoppage defeat against Zhilei Zhang on April 15th, that loss for Parker to ‘The Juggernaut’ makes him look worse because he should have been to stop the slow-as-molasses British heavyweight if he’d thrown combinations and shown a modicum of aggression.
The 29-year-old Opelu (15-3-2, 11 KOs) was knocked out in the seventh round by Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne in 2021 and stopped by Justis Huni in seven rounds in 2020. Opelu also has an earlier defeat at the hands of Christian Ndzie Tsoye (5-5-2, 4 KOs).
The defeat against ‘Big Daddy’ Browne shows what type of opponent Opelu is for Parker. That is to say, another confidence booster for Parker, and unfortunately, his resume has been littered with those types of opponents in the last five years since he was beaten in back-to-back fights by Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in 2018.
Those were contests in which Parker appeared to lack the aggression required to attack those two very beatable British heavyweights.
The former WBO heavyweight champion Parker (31-3, 21 KOs) seems to be steeply declining in his career following his eleventh round knockout loss to Joe Joyce last September.
That defeat might have seen Parker into a mental tailspin because there was no reason on earth for him to fight cruiserweight Massey in his last bout, and now for him to be scheduled to face Opelu, what is going on here?
JOESPEH PARKER VS. OPELU FIGHT CARD
- Joseph Parker vs. Faiga Opelu; Heavyweight
- Jayde Mitchell vs. Max Reeves; Super middleweight
- Nikita Tszyu vs. Benjamin Bommber; Light middleweight
- Joel Taylor vs. Ben Horn; Welterweight
- David Nyika vs. Louis Marsters; Heavyweight
- Campbell Somerville vs. Isaias Sette; Light middleweight
- Luke Gersbeck vs. Jack Moore; Light middleweight
- Cameron Mooney vs. Tom Bellchambers; Heavyweight