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Giant slayer! Parker claims heavyweight title with sensational victory

Author
Will Toogood,
Publish Date
Sat, 9 Mar 2024, 11:50am
Joseph Parker celebrates victory with the title belt following the WBO Interim World Heavyweight title fight with Zhilei Zhang. Photo / Getty Images
Joseph Parker celebrates victory with the title belt following the WBO Interim World Heavyweight title fight with Zhilei Zhang. Photo / Getty Images

Giant slayer! Parker claims heavyweight title with sensational victory

Author
Will Toogood,
Publish Date
Sat, 9 Mar 2024, 11:50am

All you need to know about the WBO Interim heavyweight title fight between Joesph Parker and Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang.   

What time is the Joseph Parker and Zhilei Zhang fight? 

The bout gets under way roughly 12pm on Saturday at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou. 

How to watch Joseph Parker vs Zhilei Zhang? 

You can also follow the action with the Herald live blog. 

The fight will be broadcast live on pay-per-view. 

Joseph Parker and TAB 

Fight result: Zhang $1.40, Parker $2.87 and draw $14 

Parker points or decision: $4.50 

Parker KO/TKO: $7 

Zhang points or decision: $5.50 

Zhang KO/TKO: $1.83 

Fight preview 

Joseph Parker, 32, boasts a record of 34-3 with 23 KOs as he gears up for his upcoming bout against Zhilei Zhang. 

Parker (34-3, 33 KOs) is coming off a dominant decision win over Deontay Wilder in a major upset last December in Riyadh. Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) scored back-to-back stoppage wins over Joe Joyce last year in a breakthrough campaign. 

Parker has scored four consecutive wins since an 11th-round KO loss to Joyce in 2022. A former heavyweight titleholder, Parker won the vacant WBO belt when he narrowly outpointed Andy Ruiz in 2016. Parker’s other two defeats came in 2018, back-to-back decision losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte. 

Known for his power (67.6 per cent wins by stoppage), Parker’s recent fights have seen a shift to relying on his underrated boxing skills. He went the distance in 10 of his last 16 fights and despite three recent losses, Parker’s journey reflects resilience, including victories over Junior Fa and Dereck Chisora. 

On the opposing end, southpaw Zhang, 40, holds a record of 26-1-1. His power-packed wins (81 per cent by stoppage) make him a formidable opponent. Zhang, measuring 6-feet-6-inches, enjoys a height advantage over 6-feet-4-inch Parker. His amateur accolades include a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

What happens if Parker wins? 

As revealed by Herald reporter Liam Napier in February, in his quest to secure another world heavyweight title shot, Joseph Parker must defeat Zhilei Zhang not once but twice after agreeing to a one-way rematch clause. 

As he seeks to seize momentum, following his career-best win over feared former champion Deontay Wilder at the same venue, Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena, Parker confronts another sizable challenge knowing he has a potential two-fight date with Zhang. 

With limited elite-level opponents on offer after neutralising Wilder’s power, Parker was left with little choice but to accept the one-way rematch clause that is designed to protect Zhang’s status as WBO interim champion after his two impressive stoppage victories over Joe Joyce. 

The rematch scenario leaves a simple scenario that, should he emerge successful against Zhang, which is by no means an easy task, maps out Parker’s short-term future. 

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