Joe Joyce faces the toughest test of his career yet when he takes on Joseph Parker tonight in a heavyweight contest with major ramifications for the future of the division.

Arguably the two toughest men anywhere across the heavyweight landscape, Joyce and Parker will trade leather at Manchester’s AO Arena, each looking to inflict the first knockout defeat of the other man’s career.

Joyce vs Parker: Nowhere to run

Two of the toughest men in the heavyweight division clash for the interim world title tonight. Book your seat now for Joyce vs Parker, exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office HD from 6pm.

The WBO interim heavyweight title awaits for the winner – and with it the promise of being installed as the next mandatory challenger to the WBO title – while the loser faces a long road back to contention in a division filled with dangerous fights.

They’re not the only attraction however with a superb slate of fights coming your way featuring world title contests, a British title slugfest as well as some of the best young athletes in the country showcasing their skills on a huge card.

Here’s why you can’t afford to miss Joyce vs Parker on BT Sport.

The Juggernaut rolls the dice

Of the two men stepping into the ring on Saturday night, it is Joe Joyce who has far more to lose from this heavyweight firefight than Joseph Parker.

The 2016 Olympic silver medallist celebrated his 37th birthday earlier this year as the incumbent WBO number one contender – a position that another fighter may have defended against a far less dangerous opponent than Parker.

However, Joyce has never shied away from a challenge over the course of his 14-fight professional career having already shared the ring with former world titlists and dangerous prospects alike.

Still undefeated, Joyce is now on the cusp of reaching the summit of the mountain but the 6ft 6ins slugger will be hoping he can underline the seriousness of his championship credentials by taking the biggest scalp of his career in the form of Parker this Saturday night.

Victory would snag the first major jewellery of Joyce’s career in securing the WBO interim heavyweight belt but more significantly, it helps move the winner much closer to the dream of securing a world title.

“This Joe wins by stoppage”
- Joe Joyce

Speaking on the Queensberry Boxing channel this month, promoter Frank Warren explained the sitiation: “The winner of this becomes the WBO Interim Champion. That means that Oleksandr Usyk, or Tyson if they get it together, the winner is going to have to defend against the winner of Joyce vs Parker.

“It can affect the terms of the purse bid [for a title fight. But also, it guarantees that the fight will happen – and there’s nothing in between.

“If the champion, for example, vacates the title, you [the interim champion] immediately become champion and then you fight the next available – but you’re getting the champions end of the purse.”

With so much on the line, Joyce cannot afford to slip up at the final hurdle; the prospect of rebuilding a world title campaign in the latter stages of his fighting prime seems unpalatable at best.

However, for all the risks this match-up carries for the powerful heavyweight contender, it is a necessary litmus test of his ability to compete at the top; the time for tune-ups and showcase fights is over.

Put simply, if Joyce can’t beat a contender of Parker’s calibre, could he ever hope to snatch a belt from one the champions?

For his part, the softly-spoken fighter believes he will deliver an emphatic finish on the biggest night of his career.

“Let’s see what happens,” he told iD Boxing.

“All this talk and stuff is one thing, but actually in the ring, we’re both going to be coming at it from great training camps, and it’s going to be fireworks and explosive and see who the better Joe is. This Joe wins by stoppage.”

Parker’s point to prove

If Joseph Parker called it a day tomorrow night, the New Zealander could look back on a career in which he achieved more than many fighters could ever dream of.

A decorated amateur turned heavyweight world champion who fought some of the best in the business while competing in front of record-breaking crowds across the globe, Parker has experienced some of the biggest highs that boxing has to offer.

But in a tale that has familiar echoes of his close friend Tyson Fury’s fall from grace, Parker admitted his success only led him to lose the ‘hunger’ for boxing.

Now rejuvenated after linking up with new coach Andy Lee and the Fury family in the coastal town of Morecambe, Lancashire, Parker is back on the hunt to become a two-time champion of the world.

It’s easy to forget he’s still just 30 years old, arguably some years short of his heavyweight prime.

That’s the message Parker’s trainer Lee has been conveying during fight week, pointing out that the South Auckland-born star has only scratched the surface of his fighting ability.

“I see a lump, a big man”
- Joseph Parker

“The raw materials are there for everyone to see with Joseph Parker,” Lee told BTSport.com during an exclusive chat on Thursday.

“It’s only becoming clear now how good he can be. As he improves, his belief grows. Those things must go hand in hand. I can see it every day with him, he’s getting better and better.”

Parker comes into the fight having won six straight since losing back-to-back contests against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte back in 2018, most recently taking out Dereck Chisora in successive contests.

With Morecambe now his home from home, Parker has become a fixture of the British heavyweight scene in recent years, and he returns to Manchester’s AO Arena this Saturday night for the third time in a row.

The build-up to this contest has seen two of the nicest men in the division demonstrate their preference to let their fists do the talking to sell the fight.

But in a rare moment of spice at the press conference on Thursday, Parker issued a clear warning to Joyce ahead of their contest.

"I see a lump, a big man," he told Joyce.

"A man that's confident, a man's that ready, but a man who is going to be stopped in his tracks. Hype train."

Can Parker deliver on his potential to snatch a piece of the world heavyweight title – or will Joyce bump him back to the bottom of the ladder?

Serrano eyes statement victory on UK debut

One of the biggest names in women’s boxing makes her much-anticipated debut on British soil when Amanda Serrano aims to add Sarah Mahfoud’s IBF belt to her three world titles in a cracking co-main event.

Serrano most recently fought against Katie Taylor in April, stepping up to the lightweight division in what was a historic clash at Madison Square Garden for the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring titles.

While she was defeated via a narrow split decision, Serrano emerged with her stock undiminished after a brilliant contest in New York City and now the 33-year-old returns to her favoured featherweight class looking to send a reminder of her transcendent ability to the rest of the 126lb division.

Previewing the contest at Thursday’s press conference, Serrano said: “I feel very happy because it is a division in which I feel comfortable. Also, I want to get one more title at 126 pounds.

42-2-1 (30 KOs)
Amanda Serrano's record

“I want to be the undisputed champion. This is the first step. I’m ready. I go in with everything and without fear, as always.

“I am confident that I am going to win because this is my weight. No one can beat me at 126.”

The only female fighter to win world titles in four weight divisions, Serrano believes she is a cut above her Danish foe Mahfoud – but the 32-year-old IBF champion is undeterred by Serrano’s reputation as she looks to spring the shock of the night at the AO Arena.

"I'm okay being the underdog because I believe in myself,” she explained.

“I have come here for a reason and I have the IBF title, I earned it. I want to unify the titles and this is an honour for me to have this fight. I'm very thankful for the opportunity. I'm going in it to win it.

"I want to look good when I go into the ring, I want to look sharp, I want to show people what I can do and that demands a lot of preparation. I have been working my ass off, harder than ever.”

Can Mahfoud snatch four world titles on the biggest night of her life – or will Serrano show once again she is “The Real Deal”?

Big fights throughout a blockbuster night

From the first bell at 6pm on BT Sport Box Office, we’ll be bringing you cracking contests all the way through an unmissable evening in Manchester.

The night begins with highly-rated female featherweight prospect Raven Champan challenging for the first title of her fledgling career when she takes on Jorgelina Guanini for the vacant WBC International belt.

British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion Mark Heffron then makes his triumphant homecoming for the first time since snatching the Lord Lonsdale strap from Lennox Clarke in June.

The 30-year-old bruiser is among the hardest hitters in the 160lb landscape and will be confident of adding a 23rd career knockout to his ledger when he faces visiting Argentinean Martin Ezequiel Bulacio.

Shortly after 7pm when the main pay-per-view broadcast begins, we kick things off with an absolute cracker when British champion Ekow Essuman defends his belt against lively challenger Samuel Antwi.

Undefeated through 17 professional contests, Essuman, aptly nicknamed ‘The Engine’, won the Lord Lonsdale belt outright with his win over Darren Tetley in April and will be looking to finish the year with an impressive win to underline his dominance of the domestic welterweight scene.

The IBO super-featherweight will be on the line next when visiting champion Michael Magnesi looks to defend his bet against the dangerous Anthony Cacace.

It marks a long overdue return to competition for the talented British champion Cacace having spent a frustrating year sidelined through bad luck and injury – and he’ll be looking to celebrate the occasion by adding a world title to his collection of jewellery.

Stoke’s beloved middleweight Nathan Heaney then does the honours in what promises to be a barnburner against Jack Flatley before the headline contests.

Fan favourite Heaney, who always brings a sizable support from Staffordshire wherever he goes, will defend his IBO international middleweight title against Flatley, who challenged for a European title only last year.

They’ll set the table perfectly before Serrano vs Mahfoud and then Joyce vs Parker on what promises to be a brilliant night of boxing in Manchester – don’t miss out!

Watch Joyce vs Parker exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office from 6pm on Saturday night. Click here to find out how you can order this unmissable event.