The debate is over as to whether Derek Chisora’s heavyweight clash with Joseph Parker is more significant than the evening’s main event.
It’s safe to say, however, that the show’s handlers would much rather continue that discussion than to have to settle for the eventual turnout.
The veteran heavyweight contender is now on the hunt for a new opponent for Oct. 26 after New Zealand’s Joseph Parker was forced to withdraw from the show at O2 Arena in London, England.
“Due to illness, Joseph Parker is out of the Derek Chisora fight on October 26,” Eddie Hearn, Chisora’s promoter announced via social media on Tuesday. “We are working on a suitable replacement and will make a further announcement this week.”
The heavyweight clash was due to serve as the chief support to the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound finals clash between unbeaten titlists Regis Prograis (24-0, 20KOs) and Josh Taylor (15-0, 12KOs). The main event remains very much intact, although it was the pairing of Parker and England’s Chisora which served as the local attraction.
Enough interest in the planned heavyweight fight left Chisora (31-9, 22KOs) convinced that he deserved top billing on the card, which will air live on Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom and on DAZN in the United States. The former heavyweight title challenger raised the issue during an announcement presser last month in England, having choice words for Hearn, WBSS organizer Kalle Sauerland or for the super lightweight participants—especially Prograis, the only one on the dais who didn’t bite his tongue.
“"Give me the main event or pull me out of the f—ing show," Chisora bluntly stated on the subject, among plenty of other comments before storming out of the session.
Interestingly, Parker (26-2, 20KOs) was not able to attend the press conference due to travel constraints. Noe, the former heavyweight titlist isn’t able to participate altogether. The bout would have been his second since signing with DAZN and Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing earlier this year. He made his debut under both banners this past June, scoring a 10th round stoppage of Alex Leapai in Providence, Rhode Island.
The win was Parker’s second straight after having suffered back-to-back losses in 2018, including a 12-round decision to Antbony Joshua in their title unification clash last March in Cardiff, Wales.
Chisora looks to extend his current two fight win streak, including a two-round wipeout of Artur Szpilka at this very venue this past July in his most recent outing. The 35-year old heavyweight will mark his sixth straight appearance at the O2 Arena.
Of course, that status is now pending the securing of a replacement opponent—one which will likely strip away any lingering argument over whether he still deserves top billing over the WBSS 140-pound finals.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox