Zach Parker was able to breathe a sigh of relief once he learned of his next ring assignment.
Any concern of another opponent pulling a disappearing act went out the window once it was confirmed that countryman John Ryder agreed to terms for their interim WBO super middleweight title fight. The all-British clash will mark the only fight of a frustrating 2022 campaign for Parker, who spent all year watching separate efforts fall through for a similarly staked bout with Demetrius Andrade.
There was a brief moment where he considered taking precautionary measures to ensure a fight actually takes place this weekend.
“I was thinking of getting some spars in his camp just to make sure he’s still fighting,” Parker joked to BoxingScene.com. “But seriously, I never feared this was going to be a repeat of Andrade. John’s always getting himself into some fights. I wasn’t concerned about him not showing up.”
The scheduled twelve-round contest headlines a BT Sport/ESPN+ telecast this Saturday from The O2 in London.
Parker (22-0, 16KOs) will enter the ring riding a career-long 55-week inactive stretch, though at no fault of the 28-year-old Derbyshire native. A homecoming affair was in store for Parker, who was previously scheduled to face Andrade (31-0, 19KOs) on May 21 in Derby. The American southpaw withdrew from the event, citing a shoulder injury which required surgery and with the event—which sold more than 10,000 tickets to that point—scrapped as a whole.
The development saw Parker lose out on a guaranteed payday of $641,917.50, or thirty-five percent of the $1,834,050 winning bid posted by Queensberry Promotions— Parker’s promoter—to secure the rights to the fight. The bout was re-ordered earlier this summer, once again going to a purse bid and with Queensberry—headed by Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren—reclaiming rights for just $305,000 as the only participant of a September 22 purse bid hearing.
Andrade declined to move forward with the fight, coming after he vacated the WBO middleweight title to confirm his interest in fighting for the interim super middleweight title. Once he was moved of the way, Parker and his team—including Warren and longtime manager Neil Marsh—moved on to the next available contender, which led to Ryder (31-5, 17KOs), a 34-year-old no-nonsense southpaw and former title challenger who was immediately on board to accept the fight.
Of course, Parker heard that story before—though he certainly feels much better this time around about hearing the opening bell.
“I’m buzzing to be fighting John Ryder… or anyone really,” noted Parker, who hasn’t fought since a fourth-round knockout of Marcus Morrison last November 6 in Birmingham, England. “I’ve been a year out. We’ve obviously had some fights fall through. But me and John Ryder should make for a great clash for the battle of Britain.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox