Three months after Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker stood side by side and prematurely announced their fight, the heavyweights will come together again Thursday in London to make it official.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the Joyce-Parker bout will be announced Thursday at a press conference in Joyce’s hometown. London’s Joyce (14-0, 13 KOs) and New Zealand’s Parker (30-2, 21 KOs) have been scheduled to fight September 24 at a venue to be announced.
Their 12-round heavyweight clash will headline a BT Sport Box Office pay-per-view show in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Joyce-Parker could be streamed by ESPN+ in the United States, but a deal for U.S. broadcast rights isn’t in place yet.
ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger was the first to report Wednesday that a deal has been struck for the Joyce-Parker bout.
Frank Warren, Joyce’s promoter, stood between Joyce and Parker and announced that they’d fight “sometime in July” during BT Sport Box Office’s telecast of the Tyson Fury-Dillian Whyte card April 23 from Wembley Stadium in London.
The 30-year-old Parker, a former WBO champion, later signed with Boxxer, however, which complicated matters because that promotional company has a content partnership with Sky Sports, BT Sport’s competitor in the UK. With the Parker bout seemingly doomed, the 36-year-old Joyce moved forward with a tune-up fight July 2, which resulted in a fourth-round stoppage of Germany’s Christian Hammer (27-10, 17 KOs) at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
Parker’s past five fights were streamed by DAZN and promoted by Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, Warren’s rival in the UK. The 6-foot-4, 251-pound Parker defeated Dereck Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision in his most recent action, a 12-round rematch December 18 at AO Arena in Manchester, England.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Joyce, a silver medalist at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, is the WBO’s number one contender for Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight title. Parker is ranked second among the WBO’s heavyweight contenders, thus the winner likely will be declared the mandatory challenger for whoever wins the upcoming 12-round rematch between Usyk and Anthony Joshua.
Ukraine’s Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) and England’s Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) will square off again August 20 at Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Usyk upset Joshua by unanimous decision to win the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships from him last September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.