Zach Parker has an opponent set for his next fight and without the pain of going through a purse bid process.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that a deal is place for an all-UK super middleweight showdown between Parker and former title challenger John Ryder. The bout will take place in late November, Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren confirmed Thursday in an interview with UK radio giant talkSPORT.
The interim WBO super middleweight title will be at stake for the fight, with the sanctioning body granting its blessing as previously reported by BoxingScene.com.
With the signing comes long awaited peace of mind for Derbyshire’s Parker (22-0, 16KOs), who has spent much of 2022 chasing down a similar clash with former two-division titlist Demetrius Andrade that has twice fallen through the cracks.
The two were due to meet May 21 in Derby, per the terms of a purse bid won by Warren’s Queensberry Promotions after bidding $1,834.500—edging out Matchroom Boxing ($1,750,000) who promoted Andrade at the time—to secure the fight. Andrade—a 34-year-old southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island—was due to make $1,192,132.50 for the dangerous road trip, but withdrew from the fight in early May after suffering a shoulder injury requiring surgery.
The unbeaten American has since vacated his WBO middleweight title to pursue an interim super middleweight title fight once again with Parker. There was considerably less promotional interest the second time around, with Queensberry reclaiming fight rights for just $305,000 as the lone bidder. The paycut of more than 80 percent was not as enticing to Andrade, who walked away from the fight that was eyed for November 5 in Derby.
A firm fight date was not revealed for Parker-Ryder, which was previously teased for November 19 but which could now take place one week later on November 26. Queensberry has events scheduled for both dates along with finalizing terms for a Tyson Fury-Derek Chisora trilogy clash for the lineal/WBC heavyweight championship in December.
Ryder (31-5, 17KOs) emerged as a surprise entry to land the assignment against Parker. The 34-year-old southpaw from Islington, London found himself in high demand, with his name attached to rumored fights with unbeaten former WBO junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia (40-3, 32KOs)—now campaigning at middleweight and super middleweight—and Nuyorican budding 168-pound contender Edgar Berlanga (20-0, 16KOs).
A fight with Parker was deemed as the most efficient way for Ryder to make his way back to the title picture. The signing comes in the latest piece of business between longtime promotional rivals Queensberry and Matchroom.
Ryder has won three straight since a highly questionable twelve-round defeat to then-unbeaten WBA super middleweight titlist Callum Smith. Their November 2019 title consolidation clash saw Ryder—who held the interim WBA title at the time—travel to Smith’s Liverpool hometown and seemingly do enough to dethrone the local favorite. Judges Terry O’Connor (117-111), Francisco Alloza Rosa (116-112) and Jose Roberto Torres (116-112) saw otherwise, with their wide scores ridiculed by the majority of the boxing public who didn’t even have Smith as the outright winner.
A three-fight winning streak has emerged in the aftermath, 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.
Parker has 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. He has yet to fight in 2022, though largely due to waiting on previously scheduled interim title fights with Andrade that never materialized.
The eventual fight date will put an end to what will serve as a career-long inactive stretch for Parker, who also went 55 weeks between wins over Murdock and veteran fringe contender Vaughn Alexander. That gap was largely due to the pandemic.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox