New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker signs deal with Sky Sports and questions planned fight with Joe Joyce
IT wasn’t that long ago that we were told that New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker would be returning to UK soil to fight fellow jolly giant Joe Joyce live on BT Sport sometime this summer.
But now, with that fight seemingly on the back burner, we instead have news that Parker has signed a long-term deal with BOXXER/Sky Sports, a direct rival of BT Sport. What that means for Joyce vs Parker is unclear, but what matters for BOXXER and Sky Sports is that Parker has a new home and is expected to show up more often in the UK in the future.
“By signing with Ben Shalom and BOXXER, I look forward to the next phase of my career where I will be a two-time world champion on Sky Sports, the premier TV platform in esports,” said Parker.
“I’ve had a great relationship with Sky Sports in the past, with a lot of great fight nights against the leading British heavyweights – I’ll fight absolutely anyone that’s put in front of me.”
Ben Shalom, CEO and Founder of BOXXER added, “This is a massive signing for BOXXER. Joe Parker is one of the finest heavyweights in world boxing and we are delighted to have him on the team. Every ranking body has it at the top of their list and now it’s entering its prime. We look forward to taking him back to world titles and some big events here in the UK.”
It certainly can’t be argued that Parker’s name and stock remain relatively high, more so in the UK than anywhere other than his home country. However, it’s also true that Parker seems better suited for the role of B-side in a major heavyweight blockbuster than for the role of A-side, particularly in the UK where historically he’s found popularity as an opponent, rather headline attraction.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how the 30-year-old is deployed. It will be just as interesting to see if the fight with Joyce, which seemed nailed down a month ago, can somehow leapfrog the obstacles in its path and find its way across the line.
This would undoubtedly benefit both of them. After all, Joyce needs tests to prepare for a world title and Parker, a man as used to losing big fights in Britain as winning them, could use a sizeable British scalp to give his career an extra boost.
Here, with a record of 30-2 (16), Parker has beaten Hughie Fury and Dereck Chisora (twice), but also lost fights to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, who failed to stop the New Zealander despite marginalizing him on the scorecards.
Predicting what he does next, a couple of rematches are more likely for Parker than a Joyce fight, one against Hughie Fury and the other against Dillian Whyte.