This Saturday, one of boxing’s major Heavyweight titles is on the line when WBO Heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (23-0; 18 KO) looks to defend his belt against Hughie Fury (20-0; 10 KO). Ring Magazine has Parker as the sport’s #5 ranked Heavyweight contender with Fury outside the top 10. The fight takes place in the Manchester Arena in the UK this Saturday, September 23 and will air live on PPV in the US with a fight time of 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. PT. The PPV will be on select US cable distributors, but also on YouTube for $24.99.
How do these two stack up?
Parker: 25 years old | 6’4” | 78″ reach | orthodox stance
Fury: 22 years old | 6’6″ | 80″ reach | orthodox stance
What have these two done recently?
Parker: W – Razvan Cojanu (UD) | W – Andy Ruiz (MD) | W – Alexander Dimitrenko (KO)
Fury: W – Fred Kassi (TD) | W – Dominick Guinn (PTS) | W – Larry Olubamiwo (TKO)
How did these two get here?
Joseph Parker started picking up a lot of hype about two years ago when Tyson Fury’s defeat of Wladimir Klitschko opened the doors of the Heavyweight division. At that time, he was a 23 year old KO machine coming out of New Zealand – untested, but seen as having a lot of potential. Parker was often put in conversation next to the likes of Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Luis Ortiz as the next crop of Heavyweights. But in the two years since, he’s stepped up his level of competition, and he hasn’t been as impressive. He’s still undefeated, but he’s struggled against opponents he should have handled, particularly Andy Ruiz. He won the vacant WBO title in that Ruiz fight, and is making his second defense here. Parker is still only 25 years old and 5 years into his pro career, but he feels like someone who has reached his ceiling and will need to mix things up significantly if he has any hope of reaching that former potential and rising to the top of the division.
Hughie Fury is, of course, a Fury. Specifically, he’s the younger cousin to the absent Heavyweight king Tyson Fury. He’s been a pro since 2013, and in Tyson’s absence, there’s been something of a desire to crown him the next Tyson. Which is a bit unfair to Hughie who, on the one hand, is not as skilled as Tyson, but on the other hand, is still a talented young Heavyweight. Fury is largely untested – his only really significant opponent is Fred Kassi, who he handled with relative ease in April 2016. Unfortunately for Fury, he’s been sidelined ever since (though he did have an exhibition fight over summer). He’s a pretty big question mark here.
What can fans expect?
It’s quite hard to know. You have two young, undefeated Heavyweights fighting for the world title here, and that has the potential to lead to an exciting fight. But Parker seems to have hit his limit, and Fury is likely to bring in a degree of rust that makes it hard to predict just how he handles this fight. That said, Parker’s been managing to just sneak by in recent fights – if Fury is on his game, he should be able to capitalize on those gaps in Parker’s game, and bring the WBO title back home to Team Fury.
Prediction: Hughie Fury, UD
Who should watch?
Heavyweight fans looking to see if either of these boxers has what it takes to truly compete at the sport’s very highest levels.
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