Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker now have more motivation for the win in the form of the WBO Interim Title. It should, in theory, guarantee the victor a title shot in their next fight.
The fight, which will take place on September 24 at AO Arena in Manchester and be shown on BT Sports Box Office, was already intriguing. Many see it as 50 / 50 given the pair’s experience and attributes.
Joyce is unbeaten as a professional – but with only 14 fights at age 36, some say he’s not been stepped up often enough. Still, 13 KOs and an Olympic silver medal (potentially gold pending investigation) speak for themselves. Many have tried to stop ‘The Juggernaut’ coming forward in the ring – few have succeeded.
Parker, on the other hand, has taken all challenges going. He previously won the vacant WBO belt in a fight with Andy Ruiz Jr, completing a couple of defences before losing it to Anthony Joshua. He lost to Dillian Whyte immediately after but has been racking up wins ever since and is looking to reach his peak under new trainer, Andy Lee.
Via his Queensberry YouTube channel, Frank Warren confirmed the development.
“The winner of this becomes the [WBO] Interim Champion. That means that Usyk, or Tyson if they get it together, they’re going to have to defend against them [the winner of Joyce – Parker].”
“It can affect the terms of the purse bid [for a title fight] number one. But number two, it guarantees that the fight will happen – and there’s nothing in between.”
“If the champion, for example, vacates the title, you immediately become champion and then you fight the next available – but you’re getting the champions end of the purse.”
Despite this affirmation for Joyce and Parker, things at the top of the heavyweight division remain puzzling. It seems that the two current champions, Usyk and Tyson Fury, are only interested in each other. If that fight takes place, it’s widely assumed that the winner, and new undisputed champion, may hang up the gloves.
This leaves the victor of Joyce vs Parker, as well as WBA Regular Champ Daniel Dubois, IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgović, and more all with a chance of snapping up a belt.
Who knows – perhaps if Fury or Usyk become undisputed they will keep fighting, leaving it up to the sanctioning bodies to battle over which mandatory must be served first. That is, assuming there’s no rematch clause in that contract.
Speaking of rematch clauses, there is one in place for Joyce should Parker defeat him – another reason why this interim belt may only move things along in theory. What is certain though, is that the addition of a title makes an already thrilling heavyweight clash even more important to the future of the division.