Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker will try to get back in title contention as he will be in the main event of a fight card against Derek Chisora on May 1st, which will include Katie Taylor defending the undisputed lightweight championship against Olympic rival Natasha Jonas, WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in a title defense against Craig Richards, and Chris Eubank Jr. getting in the ring after a 17 month break.
Parker recently scored a victory over his fellow countryman Junior Fa in February, and he is not waiting around long for his next fight. It will be the first time that he will not be with his longtime coach Kevin Barry as they parted ways two weeks ago. Now manning his corner will be former middleweight champion Andy Lee. After a couple of weeks in camp, Parker is eager to show what he can do under his new trainer.
“I’m excited to start this new chapter in my career with a new coach and some fresh ideas,” said Parker. “I’ve settled in and Andy 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 world-wide television will put me in pole position whereas a loss will be catastrophic. I am more than up for the challenge.”
That “unfinished business” comes from 2019, as Parker and Chisora were scheduled to fight in October of that year. Parker pulled out due to issues stemming from a spider bite. Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) was not convinced that was a valid reason to pull out of the bout and recalled the time before that fight was supposed to take place.
“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.
“Del Boy” was in the ring last year, losing a decision to Oleksandr Usyk. He wanted to be placed in another fight as soon as possible and this fight against Parker
“I’m looking forward to the fight, I cannot wait to get back in the ring,” he said. “I love fighting, it is what I love the most.”
Katie Taylor (17-0, 6 KOs) had two defenses of her world titles in 2020, winning a rematch against Delfine Persoon and a easy win over Miriam Gutierrez in November. She now faces Jonas, who Taylor defeated in the 2012 Olympic games en route to a gold medal.
“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, Taylor said. “I’m expecting another tough fight on May 1st and I’m looking forward to successfully defending my titles. Natasha proved in her last fight 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.”
Jonas (9-1-1, 7 KOs) was close to becoming a world champion last summer, but her battle against Terri Harper resulted in a draw. Instead of a rematch against Harper, she now has a shot to avenge the loss that she suffered in the Olympics nearly ten years ago.
“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,” said Jonas. “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.”
Craig Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs) will be trying to build off the momentum of his 9th round KO win over Shakan Pitters last December. He is ranked 8th in the WBA and will get a chance to fight the champion who last fight in Chicago almost two years ago. Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) is viewed by some as the top rated fighter in the light heavyweight division. This will be his sixth defense of the world title.
“I have been out of the ring for a year and a half and I have sorely missed boxing,” said Bivol. “I can’t wait to step through the ropes for my next fight on May 1st. 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 defense of my World Title.”
Chris Eubank Jr. (29-2, 22 KOs) had campaigned in the super middleweight division but dropped back down to middleweight, showing that he could be a contender in that class once again with a stoppage victory over Matt Korobov in 2019. Now under the tutelage of all time great Roy Jones Jr., the Brighton native aims to continue his winning streak against Marcus Morrison (23-3, 16 KOs) who wants to build on his own streak. Eubank knows about the critics that he has, but this fight could start the path of proving those critics wrong.
“People have a lot to say about me and my career,” Eubank said. “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.”
This card will be televised live on DAZN in all markets excluding the UK, Ireland, China, New Zealand and Samoa.