A week after receiving a stateside broadcast, Joe Joyce vs Joseph Parker got some extra stakes last night when the WBO officially sanctioned it as an interim title fight, citing the ongoing negotiations for Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk and the Joes’ status as the top two heavyweight contenders.
Nothing technically changes about the fight itself, as it was already scheduled for 12, but it’s nice to see Joyce (14-0, 13 KO) finally get his long-overdue shot. He’s been in line for a crack at the title since stopping Daniel Dubois in November 2020, but the Fury vs Joshua debacle kept him in limbo until the fight collapsed and Usyk got called up to challenge “AJ.”
For Parker (30-2, 21 KO), it’ll be his first crack at a belt since losing the WBO title to Joshua in 2018. He turned down an IBF final eliminator against Filip Hrgovic earlier this year, a move that’s resulted in both a direct shot at the belt and a much more lucrative opponent. Not bad.
Whoever wins will certainly be a worthy champion, and though Fury vs Usyk will almost certainly have a rematch clause that pushes any other possible defenses into 2024, one would hope that a full title shot will come sooner rather than later.