By Ian S Palmer
Unbeaten WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker of New Zealand enters the ring again this Saturday, Septermber 23rd when he takes on undefeated Hughie Fury of England at the Manchester Arena. This bout, which can be seen on pay-per-view, was originally scheduled for May, but Fury pulled out due to a back injury. Patrker last fought in May when he beat Razvan Cojanu by unanimous decision. Fury’s last outing was in April of 2016 when he beat Fred Kassi by a seventh-round technical decision. Parker won the WBO title last December by beating Andy Ruiz Jr. by majority decision.
The 25-year-old Parker has a perfect mark of 23-0 along with 18 Kos. He’s well known for his power, but his speed should also be taken note of as he has pretty quick hands as well. His biggest problem is leaving himself open for counter shots. Parker doesn’t mind taking one or two punches to land one of his own and so far his chin has held out as it’s been tested quite often. But to be honest, Parker’s power has gotten him this far in his pro career not his boxing skills, as his current knockout ratio stands at 78 per cent.
Parker still needs to improve his stamina so he can fight the full three minutes of every round if he’s forced to. He won the WBO Oriental Heavyweight Championship by stopping American Brian Minto in seven rounds back in 2014 and also won several other regional heavyweight titles in his part of the world such as the WBO Oriental Title and the OPBF crown. He’s faced some decent boxers so far such as Ruiz, Alexander Dimitrenko, Minto, Carlos Takam, Marcelo Luiz Nascimento, Kali Meehan, Bowie Tupou, Jason Pettaway, Frans Botha and Sherman Williams.
Parker turned pro back in 2005 and has 111 rounds under his belt since then. He has decent size for a modern-day heavyweight at 6-feet-4-inches in height with a 76-inch reach. He’s not the most athletic of boxers though and generally has trouble against fleet-footed and mobile opponents. But luckily enough, the 23-year-old Fury doesn’t really fall into that category of boxer. Fury is also unbeaten as his record stands at 20-0 with 10 Kos, giving him a knockout ratio of 50 per cent. He’s 6-feet-6-inches tall with an 80-inch reach, giving him a two-inch height and four-inch reach advantage.
Fury hasn’t really beaten anybody of note up to now since turning pro in 2013. He’s boxed a total of 92 rounds against the likes of Kassi, Dominick Guinn, Larry Olubamiwo, Andriy Rudenko and Matthew Greer. Fury had a pretty good amateur career, but he’s been mainly succesful as a pro due to his size and power. But Parker basically matches him in both of those intangibles. This isn’t the greatest heavyweight title fight ever made, but it should be competitive and come down to the power and chins of the boxers.
Parker has been a bit of a disappointment lately as his power has gone missing in action over the past couple of fights. He’s going to have trouble if Fury decides to box him and stay away from any toe-to-toe action. Parker has a decent chin, but if he can take Fury’s shots it’s still going to be tough to outbox him. Parker should be going for a stoppage in this fight as Fury’s chin is untested and getting a decision in England will be tough. This is close to call, but Parker has the power to stop Fury, who will also have some ring rust after 17 months of inactivity.