This Saturday night Dillian Whyte (23-1, 17KOs) headlines once again under the ‘Big Tent’ in Greenwich, London against New Zealander Joseph Parker (24-1, 18KOs).
When this fight was announced it came completely out of the blue and was a pleasant surprise for all boxing fans because they are two of the best five heavyweights in the world. Parker look set to fight Bryant Jennings in early June and Whyte was controversially dropped from the WBC mandatory position for Dominic Breazeale. Whyte then lost a purse bid to fight Kubrat Pulev in a mandatory IBF title eliminator. All these factors accumulated to both fighters deciding to a fight each other rather than jump through hoops for the governing bodies.
If you pay attention to the world rankings of any of the four major governing bodies it would give you a remarkably conflicting outcome. The likes of Tony Bellew and Jarrell Miller have no business being above either of these two. You could make a case for Alexander Povetkin or even Tyson Fury on past results but not at this moment in time.
What makes this fight so intriguing is the fact that there are no belts on the line and none of the powers that be have ordered this fight. This is all about showing the boxing world who is the most realistic challenger to the two world champions irrespective of what the rankings say we all know the winner of this fight should be next in line for a title shot.
Whyte from Brixton, South-East London has a varied world ranking but without question he is the current No.2 in Britain. The 30-year-old has fought 110 rounds in 24 bouts and has a 71% knockout ratio with a combined opponent record of 336-273-32. Since making his professional debut in 2011 the orthodox Jamaican-native has fought some credible opposition. Before his seventh round knockout defeat against Anthony Joshua he picked up an impressive knockout win over veteran Brian Minto.
The Brixton slugger became the first man to beat Dave Allen in an points win before making fellow South-East Londoner Ian Lewison retire in the tenth. In 2016 Whyte defeated Dereck Chisora in the domestic fight of the year by split decision that could have gone either way. Whyte’s winning streak continued when he put Malcolm Tann and Robert Helenius to the sword catapulting himself into a potential title shot.
In Whyte’s last appearance he produced the knockout of the year so far when he put Australian Lucas Browne to sleep in the sixth round of a scheduled twelve. Whyte looked set to face Wilder before the WBC intervened requesting another eliminatior against Luis Ortiz.
Kiwi Parker is the obvious ranked No.1 in New Zealand but also has a mixed world ranking like his opponent Whyte. In 25 bouts Parker has accumulated 135 rounds of boxing with a 72% knockout ratio and an impressive combined opponent record of 553-108-14.
After turning professional in 2012 the 26-year-old has fought some accomplished names like Frans Botha, Brian Minto, Sherman Williams and Kali Meehan. A unanimous decision over Carlos Takan – who will be on the undercard at the O2 against Dereck Chisora – in 2016 made other heavyweights take notice before knocking out German Alexander Dimitrenko in three.
Two dubious points decision victories over Andy Ruiz when he picked up the vacant WBO title in his own back yard and Hughie Fury in Manchester, England exposed chinks in his armour.
Both fighters have only one blemish on their professional records which of course came at the hands of Anthony Joshua. That being said they can take positives from their performances. Whyte being the first to rock Joshua and Parker was the first to go the 12 round distance with the undefeated unified champion. There is no doubt they have both been Joshua’s toughest challenges to date with the exception of Wladimir Klitschko.
Neither fighter will have a height advantage as both stand at 6’4” but Whyte does have the slightly longer reach of 78 inches to Parker’s 76”. The Londoner fights tall and does possess a decent jab but Parker showed in the first round against AJ that he has an excellent jab when firing his shots in low.
The New Zealander looks to have the fastest hands in the division so will throw combinations to out-punch Whyte. Maybe his best way to get close is to fight low and target the body. This could leave Parker open to Whyte’s left hook which we saw can be devastating since the shoulder operation against Lucas Browne.
Not many will disagree that both have solid chins but Parker edges Whyte considering his KO defeat to Joshua. Although that fight was a long time ago and it was a completely different type of fight to the one Parker had with AJ.
This really is a tight one to call and a lot will depend on which style Parker decides to implement. If he stays low with the jab, uses his hand speed and incorporates clever footwork with in and out combinations he could walk away with a points victory. If he decides to trade with Whyte and it ends up in a slugfest then the ‘Body Snatcher’ could well find the space to land one of his trademark left hooks or tag the body to slow down Parker in the latter stages of the fight.
At some point there will be a furious exchange which will suite Whyte better than Parker. It’s going to be a close one but I’m edging towards a fast start from Parker and for Whyte to come back after a rocking or even flooring Parker which will change the whole complexion of the fight. Whyte to win by a late stoppage.
Enjoy the fight ladies and gents!