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What is at stake?
The WBC silver title that Whyte holds and the vacant WBO International title.
The WBC silver title is an odd sort of interim title contested regardless of whether the current champion is active. The WBO International title essentially means a holder is just one of the top-tier contenders.
Neither belt gives the holder an automatic title challenge and this fight is about rankings for Parker. For Whyte it is about getting a big-name win on his record. The WBC champion is Deontay Wilder, while Anthony Joshua holds the WBA, IBF and Parker’s former WBO title.
How they got here
On the back of his friendly demeanour, Parker became well-liked by British boxing fans and media alike before earning plenty of respect for his credible but unsuccessful title unification effort verses Joshua in late March.
His willingness to push the fight despite referee Guiseppe Quartarone’s insistence of no fighting on the inside was applauded by many, but his ability to go the distance without really troubling Joshua also appealed to some British pugilists.
While Parker’s chin is proven, it is his inability to finish or visibly hurt any of his past four opponents that makes Whyte want a piece of him. Conversely, Parker will feel he can outbox Whyte and stop him.
After a round-seven knockout loss to a raw up Joshua in 2015, Whyte put some hard yards into his skill and fitness levels.
Seven wins in a row between June 2016 and March 24 this year followed and, while none of those opponents were anywhere near the level Joshua or Parker are currently, his most recent knockout win over a plodding and ill-prepared Australian, Lucas Browne, in March did come in impressive fashion.
After battering Browne for five rounds, Whyte left him lying cold in the centre of the ring and then hospitalised, after Browne’s corner carelessly let him come out for the sixth. With Whyte disillusioned with the WBC over its failure to make him Wilder’s mandatory, he agreed to fight Parker. In the process he is hoping to twist the WBC’s arm or become Joshua’s WBO mandatory after Joshua faces the number-one ranked Alexander Povetkin in September.
A strong jab, exceptional hand speed, a decent chin and proven 12-round experience versus credible opposition four times over.
Heavy power in both hands, is particularly dangerous in the opening six rounds with his aggressive approach and he is desperate to make a big statement versus a credible opponent.
Has the odd defensive chink in his armour, will button off the pressure or tire leaving him at times flat-footed and making it impossible for him to land big power shots. His ability to knock out elite level opponents in general is questionable.
He lacks a bit of a plan B or C when plan A is not working.
Limited foot movement. Is more of a slugger than a boxer and he can lose his cool and get erratic when excited.
His chin is questionable and, while he is in the best physical condition of his life, question marks also remain over just how fit he will be going into in the final three-four rounds of a fast-paced fight.
How they win
Stays on his toes with a lot of straight punching to negate Whyte’s dangerous hooks and he boxes the ears off Whyte while not getting trapped into a slugfest.
Set a good pace and frustrate Whyte into getting sloppy or tired later in the fight.
Get at Parker early and don’t allow him to settle into a rhythm.
Punch big, punch often and look to catch Parker before he gets to the championship rounds or be sure to save some energy.
Make it a brutal, ugly fight as opposed to a sweet science spectacle.
Like most heavyweight fights one punch can change everything and this one is especially tough to call.
But Parker’s more polished skill should get him over the line.
Parker v Whyte
Tail of the tape
Record: 24 wins (18ko) 6 1 loss
Ranking: WBC 6, WBO 6
Record: 23 wins (17 ko) 1 loss
Ranking: WBC 1, WBO 2