Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker will collide in a heavyweight clash on a big night of action that also sees Irish star Katie Taylor defend her undisputed lightweight crown against former amateur rival Natasha Jonas and undefeated WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol put his title on the line against Craig Richards, as well as the return of Chris Eubank Jr, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Former world title challenger Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) was last seen pushing Ukraine’s pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk all of the way in a 12-round battle at the SSE Arena, Wembley, last October, and the fan favourite is chomping at the bit for his next challenge.
A previous scheduled meeting between the pair fell through at three-and-a-half weeks’ notice in October 2019 when Parker’s team revealed their man was suffering from the after effects of a spider bite.
Former WBO champion Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) is fresh off a hard-fought 12-round decision over long-time amateur rival Junior Fa at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, last month.
“We’ve been here before, in 2019 I flew to Vegas to film the ‘Face To Face’ with Parker, I called Haye as soon as I left and told him, ‘This guy isn’t going to get in the ring with me’, I could see the fear in his eyes,” said Chisora. “Now, second time around I hope he fights, I’m looking forward to the fight, I cannot wait to get back in the ring! I love fighting, it is what I love the most. Good luck to Joseph Parker and his new team, we shall see you for WAR on May 1.”
Parker added: “I’m excited to start this new chapter in my career with a new coach and some fresh ideas. I’ve settled in and [new trainer] Andy [Lee] and I are bonding well. Chisora and I have unfinished business and inside the ring one of us will get the job done. I am well aware that a win on British soil and on worldwide television will put me in pole position whereas a loss will be catastrophic. I am more than up for the challenge. Bring it on, Del Boy.”
Taylor (17-0, 6 KOs) defeated Jonas (9-1-1, 7 KOs) in the quarter-final stages of the London 2012 Olympic Games, en route to capturing Ireland’s first gold medal of the summer. The pair will meet again nearly 10 years down the line with Taylor’s WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine world lightweight titles at stake.
“Natasha proved in her last fight [a draw against Terri Harper] that she is still performing at the highest level so it’s a great challenge for me and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Taylor. “It’s a fight that people have been asking for and those are the type of fights you want to be part of.
“People still talk about our fight in the 2012 Olympics and I think that proved to be a real eye opener for people in terms of what women’s boxing is all about. I’m expecting another tough fight on May 1 and I’m looking forward to successfully defending my titles.”
Jonas added: “I’m really excited about getting the fight, I made a lot of noise about not wanting to go down in level or class after establishing myself on the world stage in my last fight. I know Katie is a different type of animal to Terri Harper, but I believe every time I’m asked to step up, I do. I said I wanted to be a champion and anybody at 130 to 140 was in my sights, I know I’m a world class boxer and I can win a world title.
“From the minute Eddie signed me this fight has been on the cards. Me and Katie had a great story from the Olympics, and we have both been pioneers in our own way. I’m glad that it’s happening and it’s a great fight for women’s boxing and for British and Irish boxing.”
Russia’s Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) is regarded as one of the best technical boxers in the sport, mixing his dazzling skills with KO power. Bivol has defended his WBA 175lbs crown five times, but has been away from the ring since October 2019 when he widely outpointed Lenin Castillo at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
South Londoner Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs) stopped Birmingham’s Shakan Pitters in nine rounds to earn the British light-heavyweight crown in December. ‘Spider’ is ranked at No.8 in the WBA ratings.
“I have been out of the ring for a year and a half and I have sorely missed boxing,” saidBivol. “I can’t wait to step through the ropes for my next fight on May 1. I have always wanted to fight in the UK and I’m happy to tick that box. Craig Richards is a fast and technical boxer and I’m expecting a great fight as I make another defence of my world title.”
Richards added: “I feel good and I feel very confident. I know that he’s renowned as one of the best fighters out there, but I just believe that I’ve got the tools to beat him and I’m very confident in my abilities. I know I’ve got power as well, and I’ve got a very good chin. We’ve been planning for everything and anything.
“We know he’s been operating at world level for a long time and can bring different things to the table. I raise the level of my performance against my better opponents. The bigger the fight the better I perform. A fight like Bivol will allow me to go through my gears to show what I’m really about.”
Having previously campaigned at 168lbs, Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) dropped down in weight to claim the WBA ‘Interim’ middleweight title for the second time with a TKO win over former world title challenger Matt Korobov in December 2019 in New York. In what will be his first fight in the UK in over two years, the Brighton man faces Manchester’s in-form Marcus Morrison (23-3, 16 KOs), who is enjoying a seven-fight winning streak that stretches back to June 2018.
“This is a good fight for me,” said Eubank. “Since signing with Sauerland [Promotion], my camp has been firing on all cylinders, I’ve been training with Roy [Jones Jr] in Miami and focusing on improving my game. I have the absolute best people around me, I have everything I need to push on to that next level and dominate the middleweight scene.
“People have a lot to say about me and my career. There’s talks about why fights haven’t happened previously, but all I’ve been doing is focusing on number one, training hard and making sure I’m always ready. I’m now in the best place I can be and I’m ready to take what is mine.”
Morrison added: “I’m well aware that this is a massive opportunity and fight for me and my career. I got into boxing at the age of seven, and these are the type of fights I’ve always wanted to be involved in. Chris is a very good fighter, and I know what he brings to the table. I honestly believe the best version of me is still to be seen, and I look forward to showing it on the night. I can’t afford to not leave everything in there on May 1.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn concluded: “This is one of the strongest shows we’ve promoted and there is still even more to come. Chisora vs. Parker is a brilliant style match up that has been brewing for years and Taylor vs. Jonas is one of the biggest fights in women’s boxing. The Eubanks are always box office and it’s a massive chance for Marcus Morrison after his brilliant win in Italy. Craig Richards goes for world title glory against the brilliant Russian Dmitry Bivol and there are further announcements to follow. Buckle up and enjoy this one!”