Joseph Parker and Joe Joyce are preparing to fight each other next month – but they agreed on one thing ahead of their showdown.
The pair will meet at the Manchester Arena on September 24, exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office, in a battle between the number one- and number two-rated fighters with the WBO.
The winner is expected to be named the mandatory challenger to Oleksandr Usyk, the current champion.
And both fighters have picked the Ukrainian to get the better of Anthony Joshua when he rematches the Brit on August 20 at Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia.
New Zealand’s former WBO champion Parker, who shared a ring with Joshua back in March 2018 but has been out of action since last December’s unanimous decision win over Derek Chisora, when speaking to talkSPORT said:
“I’m not sure what Joshua is doing with his new team and hopefully he’ll be a more improved fighter.”
Joshua recently teamed up with Robert Garcia, splitting with long-time mentor Robert McCracken, as he looks to become a three-time unified champion at heavyweight.
Parker went on to make his pick:
“But I’m siding with Usyk.”
Joyce, on the other hand, was most recently in the ring in July when he dispatched of Christian Hammer inside four rounds at the OVO Arena in Wembley, London.
He came up against Usyk as an amateur, in the World Series of Boxing, back in 2013 – and he’s determined to get his own shot at revenge against the former undisputed cruiserweight king, having cleaned up every belt in the 200-pound division before moving up to heavyweight.
Joyce told talkSPORT:
“Usyk’s already beaten Joshua.
“So it’s the same thing again and he also has the confidence from beating him the first time.
“It’s down to Joshua now to step his game up and try and get back those titles. I still think Usyk’s got what it takes to bash him up again.
“But Joshua has a punchers’ chance, a heavy punch, but if he can’t land those big shots, it’s Usyk again.”