Two heavyweights on the cusp of a world title shot collide this Saturday in Manchester, as Joe Joyce (14-0) squares off with former WBO world champion Joseph Parker (30-2) for the WBO 'Interim' title, live on BT Sport Box Office.
Joyce has yet to put a foot wrong since turning pro in 2017 following his silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic games. Joyce knew time wasn't on his side as he turned pro at a late age, so made his debut in a 10-rounder against Ian Lewison. Joyce made history in his fourth fight, as he became the quickest heavyweight to ever win the Commonwealth title when he dismantled Lenroy Thomas. Joyce was a part of the monster Wider Vs Fury fight night in Los Angeles in 2018, where he sensationally knocked Joe Hanks out in one round in just his seventh fight.
Joyce would win the WBA Gold title in his next bout, as he stopped former WBC champ Bermane Stiverne in six rounds. Joyce was being commended for the speed he was working his way through the ranks, and in his 10th fight, he was held to his first points victory when he defeated Bryant Jennings. Joyce would face British rival, Daniel Dubois. The European, British and Commonwealth titles were on the line for this bout, and Joyce systematically broke Dubois down, causing a nasty eye injury to Dubois leading to the bout being stopped in the 10th round. Joyce faced the tough Carlos Takam following his victory over Dubois and got a stoppage victory in the sixth round. Joyce thought the shot at Parker was coming next but the bout was sidelined due to a promotional dispute, so would take on Christian Hammer in the meantime. Joyce was caught a few times but also displayed his power, blasting Hammer out in the fourth round
Parker has been around the pro game since 2012 and made a lot of noise in his home country of New Zealand. His fifth fight saw him venture to America, where he would be held to a decision for the first time, but it was a shutout in his favour, defeating Brice Ritani Coe over six rounds. Parker would return to New Zealand and stop his next two opponents in two rounds, including a vicious stoppage of former Mike Tyson challenger, Frans Botha. A trip to Germany in his eighth bout would see Parker pick up a seventh-round TKO victory over Marcelo Nascimento before continuing his journey in New Zealand.
The victories kept on coming for Parker, as he collected many rankings belts along the way, which saw him rise through the WBO and IBF rankings. Parker would reach 18-0 before being tasked to fight Carlos Takam, Parker would be facing a prime Takam (unlike Joyce when they met) and would defeat the tough French man by unanimous decision. Solomon Haumono was next, but would only last four rounds with Parker before Parker went on to stop Alexander Dimitrenko in three. Parker opted to go down the WBO title route and would land a shot at the vacant title against Andy Ruiz Jr. Parker would get the shot in his home country and would become world champion with a majority decision over Ruiz Jr.
Parker would make two defences of his belt, both unanimous decision victories over Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury before going on to fight WBA and IBF champion, Anthony Joshua, in a unification bout. Parker would be unsuccessful in his challenge but would be the first man to take Joshua the full 12, as he lost by unanimous decision. Parker jumped straight back into a big fight, as he would return to the UK to fight Dillian Whyte. The pair put on a barnstormer, which even saw Parker hit the canvas for the first time as a pro. Parker would unfortunately be on the end of a unanimous decision loss. Parker bounced back with a third-round stoppage of Alexander Flores five months later.
Parker would travel to the US next time out and would stop the veteran Alex Leapai in ten rounds, before having another bout in the US resulting in a third-round TKO victory over Shawndell Winters. A New Zealand derby with Junior Fa came next, in an underwhelming bout, Parker reigned supreme over his fellow countryman, Fa, with a unanimous decision victory. Parker would next travel back to the UK to take on Derek Chisora. Parker was floored within seconds of the opening bell but fought back to pick up a split decision victory. The pair would have a rematch which saw Parker close the rivalry with a sensational performance, dropping Chisora three times on his way to a unanimous decision victory.
Parker has added a huge name to his camp, as WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is helping Parker in his preparations for his clash with Parker. Joyce will look to keep his unbeaten record as he faces his toughest test yet in Parker. These two heavyweight titans clash this Saturday with the winner looking to go on to world honours. All the action goes down at the AO Arena in Manchester and can be watched live on BT Sport Box Office.