The Juggernaut returns: WBO interim champ Joyce faces Zhang on April 15Feb 2 | 3 min read
It’s on! Joe Joyce faces Joseph Parker and Amanda Serrano returns on BT Sport Box Office
Joe Joyce will face former world champion Joseph Parker in a titanic clash and Amanda Serrano returns exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office on September 24.
Fight fans look set be treated to an absolute cracker between two men who rarely take a backwards step as both jostle for position in the heavyweight division with the lure of a world title shot looming in the not-too-distant future.
The pair had verbally agreed to face one another earlier this summer only for talks to fall through at the 11th hour when Parker opted to pledge his future to a rival promoter.
In the meantime, Joyce dispatched of German contender Christian Hammer to mark his first action in a year, making a winning return to the ring following a serious arm injury.
But in the last few weeks, Parker returned to negotiations seeking to honour his commitment to facing Joyce in a potentially pivotal heavyweight clash.
The 30-year-old former WBO world champion is keen to return to relevancy at the top of the division having dispatched of game veteran Dereck Chisora in successive outings on his last two trips to the ring, extending his winning run to six straight in the process.
Meanwhile Joyce, who is undefeated through 14 pro fights, will go in search of a 14th career knockout against a man who claims to possess the best chin in the heavyweight division.
Ranked one and two by the WBO governing body respectively, Joyce vs Parker is a meeting of two men truly at the top of their game that neither can afford to lose.
"This is a fantastic fight that really keeps the heavyweight ball rolling," Hall of Fame promoter and Queensberry boss Frank Warren said.
"It has proved to be a little while in the making, but this is a match between two in-form and quality heavyweights fighting to be first in the queue for a world title shot.
"It is one the fans want to see so I am delighted to be taking this blockbuster fight to Manchester, the biggest indoor arena in the country, which we want to see packed to the rafters.
"Joseph Parker is obviously a well-known and highly respected fight figure over here in the UK, both for his exploits in the ring and him working alongside Tyson Fury up in Morecambe. He also looks a greatly improved heavyweight since teaming up with Andy Lee and his defeat of Dereck Chisora last time out was a comprehensive one.
"This is the perfect test of big Joe's world championship credentials and victory over Parker would propel him into the top echelons of the division and right in the mix with the likes of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk."
Olympic silver medallist Joyce added: "This fight has been a long time in the making.
"Parker realised he had nowhere else to go and eventually had to take this fight. No 1 vs No 2. The winner goes on to fight for the world title! It’s going to be a cracking fight and you will see why he tried so hard to avoid me!"
Parker, the former WBO world titlist, said: “On Saturday, September 24th, the fans in Manchester will see the very best of me. And Joe Joyce will see exactly why I will become the heavyweight champion of the world again with BOXXER.
"I am working hard with my trainer Andy Lee, everything is going smoothly and I truly feel great. I have waited patiently to get this fight on and let me tell you now, the Juggernaut’s journey ends right here. He has nowhere to run.”
Joyce vs Parker undercard
Unified featherweight world champion and women’s boxing superstar Amanda Serrano will bid to add another world championship belt to her collection when she takes on the IBF champion Sarah Mahfoud.
Seven-weight world champion Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KOs) is the reigning WBO, WBC and IBO champion at 126lbs and has her sights set on becoming undisputed champion at the weight.
Having won titles in every division between 115 and 140 pounds, Serrano, a Puerto Rican southpaw from Brooklyn, holds the Guinness World Record for most women’s boxing world championships (7) won in different weight classes.
Her narrow split-decision loss to Taylor in a lightweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden was the first women’s fight in history to headline at MSG. Drawing a raucous, sold-out crowd of 19,187, Serrano nearly finished Taylor off with a barrage of punches in the fifth round, before ultimately dropping a split decision.
Anthony Cacace, Ekow Essuman, Nathan Heaney, Raven Chapman and Mark Heffron have all also been added to the card.
Cacace (19-1, 7 KOs), 33, will challenge for the IBO world super featherweight title against the unbeaten Italian champion Michael Magnesi (21-0, 13). The 27-year-old from Lazio won the title by defeating Dennis Contreras in April and the British champion from Belfast is his first defence.
Nottingham’s British, IBF European and Commonwealth welterweight champion Essuman (17-0, 7) will be making a third defence of his belts against former English champion Samuel Antwi (14-1, 6) from Stockwell in London.
Stoke middleweight Heaney (15-0, 6) will make a second defence of his IBO International title against Bolton’s Jack Flatley (19-2, 4), a recent European title challenger at super welterweight.
Heaney, 33, who is striving towards a major title challenge at the home of his beloved Stoke City, won his IBO belt with a seventh-round stoppage of the experienced Sladan Janjanin in November 2021 and returned to action in April in Telford and survived a first-round scare to ultimately overcome the dangerous Diego Ramirez by a significant margin over 10 rounds.
The Queen of Queensberry, Raven Chapman (3-0, 2), moves quickly into title business with a challenge for the vacant WBC International featherweight championship against Argentina's Jorgelina Guanini (10-4-2, 1).
The new British super middleweight champion Mark Heffron (28-2-1, 22) from Oldham will also feature on the card in an eight-round contest.
Liverpudlian James Heneghan (7-0) is back out in a six-rounder, while the card is finished off with up-and-coming Queensberry fighters Amaar Akbar (3-0) and Tommy Fletcher (1-0) both in four-round action.