Joe Joyce Will Still Fight In July But Not Joseph Parker
The plan remains for heavyweight contender Joe Joyce and former world titlist Joseph Parker to fight, but instead of the match taking place July as originally planned, promoter Frank Warren said Friday the fight is being targeted for September.
Instead, Joyce will first fight an opponent to be determined on July 2 at the OVO Arena, Wembley in London.
Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs), 36, of England, the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist, is coming off a wrist injury that has kept him sidelined so far this year. In his last fight, he scored a sixth-round knockout of former world title challenger Carlos Takam at the same venue last July.
Parker (30-2, 21 KOs), 30, of New Zealand, has won six fights in a row and is coming off a decision win in his rematch with Dereck Chisora in December.
“Joes had a frustration time since his demolition job on Carlo Takam last year. He’s not been as active as we or he would have liked due to a wrist injury and the delay to his showdown with Joseph Parker,” Warren said. “We found out last week that Parker’s training schedule scuppered our plans for them to meet on July 2, but it was important to us and Joe that he still fight after such a lengthy layoff with injury.
“The carrot for Joyce is a win on July 2 will set up a massive showdown with Parker in September. He needs to keep his focus though and deliver on July 2 as the big opportunities are now there to be taken.”
Warren also announced the rest of the July 2 card, which will be headlined by junior featherweight Jason Cunningham (31-6, 7 KOs), 32, of England, defending the Commonwealth title against former bantamweight and junior bantamweight world titlist and fellow southpaw Zolani Tete (29-4, 22 KOs), 34, of South Africa.
Tete will be fighting for the second time since suffering a third-round knockout loss that cost him his WBO bantamweight belt against John Riel Casimero in England in November 2019.
Also on the card, British light heavyweight contender Callum Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs), 36, will face fellow former world title challenger Igor Mikhalkin (24-3, 11 KOs), 36, a Russian southpaw. The fight will be Johnson’s first since September because a bout with Covid-19 forced him to withdraw from a January challenge against WBO light heavyweight titlist Joe Smith Jr.
“Jason Cunningham versus Zolani Tete is about as even as matchmaking can be in boxing and the same can be said regarding Callum Johnson versus Igor Mikhalkin,” Warren said. “I’m predicting fan-friendly action across both fights in matchups that will get the winners in the mix with the top guys in their respective divisions.”