Just about four months ago, Joseph Parker was the reigning WBO heavyweight champion, unbeaten and headed into the biggest fight of his career, a unification with Anthony Joshua in Cardiff, Wales.
Fast forward to today, and Parker is a loser of two straight fights following defeat at the hands of Dillian Whyte on Saturday.
Parker said after the fight that he didn’t execute the game plan, but that his team is still his team, and he has no intentions of making any big changes.
“This fight I’ve taken on the chin: there’s only so much you can teach, and it’s hard for me to execute the plan. It’s even harder when you have a great challenge in front of you. ... I didn’t execute the plan my coach put in place.”
Parker (24-2, 18 KO) fought valiantly down the stretch against Whyte, and even floored his opponent late in the 12th round. Not to play the “what if” game, but if there had been another minute, maybe even 30 seconds, Whyte (24-1, 17 KO) may not have made it out. We might be talking about Joseph Parker rematching Anthony Joshua at Wembley next April, and not Dillian Whyte.
But the fact is that Whyte was the winner, and deserved it. He roughhoused Parker, bullied him, and his team talked about that afterward, saying they felt Whyte should have lost points, which could have made a fight-changing difference, too. But they don’t seem overly sore about it, and Parker, as usual, sounds levelheaded.
But where does Joseph Parker go from here? There are plenty of comeback fights out there for him, sure, but can he really get back into top contention? He was outboxed by Joshua, beaten around by Whyte, and now he’s in a hole.
That said, he’s still a top 10 heavyweight, but with these losses, he’s going to have to prove himself again before he gets another major fight. His team expects he could make that comeback in the United Kingdom, whenever it’s time.