Joseph Parker and Zhilei Zhang Set for Explosive Co-Main on March 8th in Riyadh

By Tim Compton - 01/15/2024 - Comments

WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) and Joseph Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) will be the co-feature attraction on the Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou card on March 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Zhang & Parker could upstage the main event, as this one should be entertaining from start to finish, particularly if the New Zealander attacks ‘Big Bang’ like he did Deontay Wilder last month on December 23 on ‘The Day of Reckoning’ card in Riyadh.

Parker is taking a real chance fighting Zhang because this is not a good match-up for him, but he has no real choice. He won’t get a lucrative rematch against Joshua or fight for a world title without beating a quality guy like Zhang. If Parker loses, which is likely, he can at least say he tried.

Declan Taylor of Boxing News broke the story about Zhang and Parker fighting on the Joshua-Ngannou card.

Parker On a Roll

The 31-year-old former WBO heavyweight champion Parker revived his stagnant career with a one-sided twelve-round unanimous decision win over former WBC champion Wilder last December.

Using pressure and clever boxing, Parker outclassed and surprisingly outpunched ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Wilder and had him hurt in the eighth round.

Deontay looked completely shot, a shell of what he once was, and it was pretty obvious that the combination of age, inactivity, and the punishment he took in his three fights with Tyson Fury had taken everything out of him.

Ideally, Parker would rather be getting a fight with Joshua in the main event on the March 8th card or fighting the winner of the February 16th fight between champions Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, but he’s been too dormant since losing his WBO strap to AJ in 2018, and he’s significant victory over a non-washed fighter.

Zhang On The Rise

Zhilei Zhang has looked overwhelmingly good recently, stopping Joe Joyce twice and arguably beating Filip Hrgovic in 2022 in a fight that he lost in Jeddah.

Some fans believe that Zhang may be the best heavyweight on the planet now, better than Joshua, Fury, and Usyk. That could be why AJ swerved him when he was available for this card and in Joshua’s previous contest against Otto Wallin.

You have to favor Zhang over Parker because he has too much power, size, and hand speed for him.

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