Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker will both enter the ring on Saturday at the heaviest weight of their respective careers.
London’s Joyce tipped the scales at 271.6 pounds. He will outweigh his opponent by more than sixteen pounds, even as New Zealand’s Parker checked in at a career-high 255.4 pounds for their scheduled 12-round interim WBO heavyweight title fight Saturday evening at AO Arena in Manchester, England.
The bout headlines a BT Sport Box Office/ESPN+ telecast which begins at 2:00 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. locally.
Joyce (14-0, 13KOs) will enter Saturday’s contest six pounds heavier than his last fight, when he was 265 ½ pounds in a fourth-round stoppage of Christian Hammer on July 2 at OVO Arena Wembley. The fight was Joyce’s first in nearly a year, as the 2016 Olympic Silver medalist was sidelined with injuries.
The date was originally reserved for a fight with Parker (30-2, 21KOs), who walked at the eleventh-hour after a deal was believed to have been reached. Parker signed with Ben Shalom’s BOXXER promotional company, which primarily does business with UK giant Sky Sports. The network conflict didn’t stand in the way of the fight coming back around, with Parker agreeing to terms for what will mark the third straight fight at AO Arena for the South Auckland, New Zealand native.
The previous two bouts at the venue both came in wins over divisional trialhorse Derek Chisora. Parker survived a knockdown to take a split decision in their first fight, before claiming a twelve-round unanimous decision in the rematch, where he weighed a previous career-high 251 pounds.
It is also the third straight for Parker under the guidance of former WBO middleweight titlist Andy Lee as his head trainer. One key perk is his extended work with unbeaten lineal/WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23KOs), as Parker is now based out of Morecambe and has even earned the nickname ‘Gypsy Joe’ among Fury’s fervent fan base and Traveler community.
The winner will be assured a shot at unified WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13KOs). When that title shot will arrive depends on the decided pecking order between the sanctioning bodies. Usyk also has mandatory title commitments with the WBA (Daniel Dubois) and IBF (Filip Hrgovic), while calls have come for an undisputed showdown with Fury.
The co-feature pits record setting seven-division titlist Amanda Serrano (42-2-1, 30KOs) against unbeaten Sarah Mahfoud (11-0, 3KOs) in a scheduled ten-round featherweight title unification contest.
Serrano weighed 124.7 pounds as she puts her WBC/WBO/IBO belts on the line. The weight is nearly nine full pounds lighter than her last fight, when Serrano was 133.6 pounds in a narrow split decision defeat to undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor in their historic April 30 superfight at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Saturday’s fight sees Serrano—a Puerto Rican southpaw from the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York—return to her optimal weight division in her first career fight in the U.K. The fight is part of her quest to become the first-ever Puerto Rican—female or male—to become undisputed champion.
Mahfoud was 124.9 pounds for her second attempted defense of the IBF featherweight belt. The unbeaten 32-year-old from Hillerod, Denmark claimed the interim title in a ten-round win over Brenda Karen Carabajal in February 2020. Her reign was upgraded to full title status when previous claimant Jennifer Han opted to not return to the weight division after giving birth to her second child.
In her most recent contest, Mahfoud outpointed Nina Meinke over ten rounds on April 21 in Copenhagen.
Below are the weights for the rest of the televised undercard.
Michael Magnesi (21-0, 13KOs), Cave, Italy, 129 pounds vs. Anthony Cacace (19-1, 7KOs), Beflast, 129.8 pounds—12 rounds, junior lightweight
Ekow Essuman (17-0, 7KOs), Nottingham, 146.4 pounds vs. Samuel Antwi (14-1, 6KOs), Stockwell, London, 145.9 pounds—12 rounds, welterweight
Raven Chapman (3-0, 2KOs), High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, 125.4 pounds vs. Jorgelina Guanini (10-4-2, 1KO), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 124.2 pounds—8 rounds, featherweight
Nathan Heaney (15-0, 6KOs), Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, 160 pounds vs. Jack Flatley (19-2-1, 4KOs), Bolton, Lancashire, 159.2 pounds—10 rounds, middleweight
Below are the weights for the non-televised undercard.
Mark Heffron (28-2-1, 22KOs), Oldham, Lancashire, 169.4 pounds vs. Martin Bulacio (10-6, 7KOs), Cordova, Argentina, 168 pounds—8 rounds, super middleweight
Callum Thompson (4-0, 1KO), Kirkby, Merseyside, 136 pounds vs. Delmar Thomas (5-2, 2KOs), Bestwood, Nottingham, 136 pounds—4 rounds, lightweight
James Heneghan (7-0, 0KOs), Liverpool, 162.9 pounds vs. Rod Douglas, Jr. (3-4, 0KOs), Bow, London, 158.6 pounds—6 rounds, middleweight
Amaar Akbar (3-0, 0KOs), Batley, Yorkshire, 143.4 pounds vs. Karlo Wallace (0-2, 0KOs), West Bromwich, West Midlands, 142.4 pounds—4 rounds, junior welterweight
Tommy Fletcher (1-0, 1KO), Attleborough, Norfolk, 204.4 pounds vs. Tony Visin 204.8 pounds—4 rounds, cruiserweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox