WBO world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (23-0) is set to make his next title defense this Saturday night in Manchester when he faces the challenge of unbeaten Hughie Fury (20-0).
This fight is ostensibly what the modern heavyweight division is all about. Parker, out of New Zealand, is 25 years old and he is making the second defense of the world title he won this past December with a unanimous decision win over American Andy Ruiz Jr. Parker defended his belt in May of 2017 against unsung Razvan Cojanu and this fight will be his first world title defense outside of his native New Zealand.
Heading to England to face Hughie Fury is no joke. Hughie is the cousin of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and as such he presents a lot of the same package. He is a big, rangy heavyweight who makes up for a lack of big punching power with a lot of movement and he has long been part of the team that prepared with cousin Tyson. Tyson’s fall from grace has been well documented and Hughie has also been inactive for a long time. When you consider that Hughie is shorter than Fury, and that he doesn’t have the motion and ranginess of his cousin and he starts to look like a “B” class version of his cousin. Fury also lacks the competition level that his cousin faced in his climb to the title, so here Hughie is trying to establish himself as his own man by stepping up.
It bears noting that this meeting was originally scheduled for April of this year in New Zealand but Fury was pulled out on short notice with a back injury and was replaced by Cojanu. With the Fury camp, what you see is not necesarrily what you get, so it is very possible that Fury was playing mind games when he pulled out of the fight with less than two weeks to go. Whether contrived or not, the end result of the postponement is that Fury is now fighting at home and the odds are a lot closer to pick ’em than they were when Fury was facing Parker in New Zealand. The winner is in a good position for a lucrative title unification bout with WBA and IBF world champion Anthony Joshua.
Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK
Heavyweight 12 Rounds –
Hughie Fury +110 o9 1/2 -210
Joseph Parker -130 u9 1/2 +175