Joseph Parker defeated his Kiwi rival Junior Fa by unanimous decision with scores of 115-113, 117-111 and one atrocious 119-109 card. The fight didn’t live up to expectation as Fa tried to follow the blueprint set originally by Anthony Joshua, which involved a lot of holding after establishing the jab. Parker was also guilty of holding at times, which made the contest difficult to score and a lot closer than the scorecards suggest.
The former WBO World heavyweight champion wanted to win in emphatic style, and sadly this was not that. The lacklustre performance has left questions to be answered about Parker, most importantly – does he have the desire to win another World title? I’m looking at all potential options for the now 28-2 (21 KOs) heavyweight.
Derek Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs)
The two fighters were meant to meet in the last quarter of 2019 before Parker was ruled out with a freak spider bite illness. At the time, it promised entertainment with Chisora fresh off of his KO win over Artur Szpilka, and Parker with a dominant stoppage of Alex Leapai. The British heavyweight has since lost a decision to Ukrainian maestro Oleksandr Usyk, and could be looking to bounce back against a credible opponent. Parker has expressed his desire to strike another deal to fight Chisora, and a World title shot seems some time away for now so why not take this as an interim fight.
Joe Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs)
‘The Juggernaut’ defied all doubters of his potential by pummelling Daniel Dubois into submission last November. The former Olympian is now eyeing a final eliminator with amateur foe Oleksandr Usyk which is likely to go ahead, but should that fall through Joyce-Parker is a great fight to make. Parker is currently ranked #3 in the WBO whilst Joyce takes one position higher at #2. The scenario is that whilst Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua fight for the undisputed crown, the #1 (Usyk) and #2 (Joyce) should fight for the Interim belt. It is possible that Usyk sits tight whilst Joyce and Parker get it on, meaning that the Ukrainian can move into his title charge as soon as possible, without risking his mandatory status. Although this fight seems like the ideal fight for Parker, it’s unlikely to come to pass just yet.
Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs)
The broadcast team seemed to think they fought, so trying to save them from further embarrassment was my reasoning here. The former WBC World heavyweight champion is looking for a comeback fight since losing his crown to Tyson Fury last year, but Parker would need to seriously increase his activity to take on the old version of the ‘Bronze Bomber’. Of course, that’s if Wilder is still the same. The heavyweight from Alabama has showed concerning signs since his sole professional loss, and it’s left people unsure on how he will look in his return. Therefore it makes good sense to pit the two former World champions together, a brilliant crossroads fight where anything could happen and will show both men’s true colours.
Andy Ruiz Jr. Rematch (33-2, 22 KOs)
The two heavyweights shared the ring for the WBO heavyweight championship back in 2016, where Parker claimed a majority decision victory. Ruiz has since gone on to shock the world against Anthony Joshua, winning the unified heavyweight crown, to then losing it just six months later in a rematch. The last version we saw of Ruiz was unfit, sloppy and unprofessional. However, ‘The Destroyer’ has teamed up with renowned trainer Eddy Reynoso since, and has boasted an impressive weight loss on social media. Parker knows the risk that might come with facing WBO #4 Ruiz, but having shared the ring before and both men wanting to establish themselves – running it back seems ideal.
I could’ve done a fifth but it seems forced so four options it is. Who do you think Parker should fight next?