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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Jospeh Parker is ready to spring another upset

Jospeh Parker is ready to spring another upset

Publish Date: 03/05/2024
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Upsets happen in sports. Boxing is no exception.

Joy Joyce was heavily favored to derail Chinese big man Zhilei Zhang last April. Joyce was on a roll – having stopped six consecutive opponents.

He stopped Joseph Parker in his previous fight, absorbing several hard punches until his heavy shots ended the bout.

Zhang was in an opposite place. His unbeaten streak was over after losing to Flip Hrgovic. The look wasn’t a good one. Zhang was exhausted, though the decision was debatable.

Joyce was supremely confident on fight night. The confidence was gone by round two. Zhang clobbered him with combos. His iron chin was cracking. Sweeping rights caused Joyce’s eye to swell shut.

The fight was over in round six. The boxing world (and Joyce) were shocked. Joyce had shown flaws in other fights, but Zhang wasn’t supposed to be the fighter to exploit them.

A rematch went down five months later at Wembley Arena in London. Joyce told reporters he had fixed the mistakes he had made in his first fight with Zhang. His confidence was as strong as ever, he said.

Words. Joyce fought defensively, which neutered his natural aggressiveness. He was not over mentally what had happened to him in the first fight. Zhang banged him around the ring and stopped him in round three.

When Joseph Parker signed up to fight Deontay Wilder, his chances of winning seemed slight. Parker was expected to lose to Wilder to set up a massive fight between Wilder and Anthony Joshua, the co-headliner on the card. Parker had boxed Joshua and fought reluctantly. The loss was the first on his record.

Dillian Whyte handed Parker his second loss four months later. Parker was on the floor twice. He rallied and almost stopped Whyte in the 12th round – but the rally wasn’t enough. The decision went to Whyte. Parker was on a six-fight winning streak when he fought Joyce in 2022. Parker fought hard but was overpowered by Joyce, who won by stoppage in round 11.

A pattern had revealed itself. Parker lost when he stepped up in competition.

Wilder, though limited, was the former heavyweight champion of the world. His right hand was a bomb. Tyson Fury handled him, but most figured Parker could not. Parker was very confident in the days leading up to the fight.

“I am here, and I am ready,” said Parker. “I have had a great camp. Going into this fight [with] a good game plan, great strategy, and listen respect to Wilder, but I am here to do a job, and I am here to win.”

Win, he did.

Easily.

Wilder moved around the ring and threw occasional punches. His big right was nowhere to be seen until late – when it clipped Parker but didn’t detonate. Parker put a halt to the pattern and won the fight.

Can he do the same against Zhang this Friday at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, South Africa? Like when he fought Wilder, Parker is the underdog. He’s live, for sure.

Zhang has no doubt what the outcome will be.

“I am expecting a tough fight, but I think I will win by knockout for sure,” Zhang told dailynews.net.

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