The next step in the career of Zach Parker could contribute to the suddenly growing list of shared business between Queensberry Promotions and Matchroom Boxing.
BoxingScene.com has learned that talks are underway for a potential showdown between Parker and countryman John Ryder. Such a fight was the planned next order of business by the WBO, who will make available an interim super middleweight title should the two sides come to terms.
Parker—who fights for Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions—remains the highest ranked available contender in the WBO super middleweight rankings. Ryder—who fights under the Matchroom banner—is one spot below Parker and open to such a fight between top UK super middleweight contenders.
The development comes in the wake of Derbyshire’s Parker (22-0, 16KOs) seeing an ordered interim title fight with Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19KOs) fall through for the second time in less than five months.
The two were due to meet on May 21 in Derby, only for Andrade to suffer a shoulder injury which forced him to withdraw. Andrade—a 34-year-old southpaw and former two-division titlist from Providence, Rhode Island—was due to make $1,192,132.50, his entitled 65 percent cut of the $1,834,050 purse bid posted by Queensberry Promotions to secure the rights to the fight.
Andrade’s pay was reduced by more than 80 percent following the result of the purse bid for the reordered interim title fight earlier this month. Queensberry posted just $305,000 as the lone bidder, with plans to stage the fight on November 5 in the UK. Andrade—who’d already vacated his WBO middleweight title just to revisit the Parker fight—was entitled to 60 percent per purse bid terms, leaving him with a paltry $183,000 payday which he declined in removing himself from the mix.
Parker has first rights to challenge for the interim or full WBO title, having held the top position since a March 2020 knockout win over Rohan Murdock just prior to the pandemic. The unbeaten 28-year-old has since won three fights, including a fourth-round stoppage of Marcus Morrison last November 6 in Birmingham, England.
Ryder suddenly finds himself in high demand.
The 34-year-old southpaw from Islington, London was considered unlucky to leave with a twelve-round, unanimous decision defeat to then-unbeaten Callum Smith in their November 2019 WBA super middleweight title fight. Ryder (31-5, 17KOs) has since won three in a row, including a narrow and debatable twelve-round, split decision win over former middleweight titlist Daniel Jacobs on February 12 at Alexandra Palace in North London.
In the months that have followed, Ryder’s name has come up as a potential foe for two young guns in and around the division.
Edgar Berlanga (20-0, 16KOs) has called out Ryder as a potential next foe, a fight which even Matchroom chairman Eddie Hearn publicly expressed interest. Berlanga remains on suspension through December 11 for a biting incident in his win over Alexis Angulo on June 11 in New York City, though could still within the general time frame for Ryder’s next planned fight.
Jaime Munguia and his team have also explored the possibility of facing Ryder as the former WBO junior middleweight titlist continues to straddle the middleweight and super middleweight divisions.
Zanfer Boxing, Munguia’s promoter, previously announced plans for the unbeaten Tijuana native to return on October 29 in San Diego. An opponent wasn’t mentioned, though Ryder was believed to be the leading candidate. The date and location was since claimed by the lightweight crossroads bout between contenders Joseph Diaz Jr.—a former IBF junior lightweight titlist—and unbeaten William Zepeda.
Munguia is now targeting a November date, though without a confirmed location or opponent.
The idea of a domestic clash between Parker and Ryder is at least as attractive as the other options. The possibility comes as Queensberry and Matchroom continue to discuss a desired all-UK heavyweight clash between lineal/WBC champion Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23KOs) and former two-time unified titlist Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox