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Clash of the contenders

Clash of the contenders

Two heavyweight fighters who both believe they can be world champion go head to head at the AO Arena. Read on to find out how you can purchase the fight on BT Sport Box Office with Virgin Media

By Chris Miller, Writer

Joe Joyce’s name may sound a bit like a luxury car, but there’s a reason he’s nicknamed Juggernaut. The British fighter has powered his way through the heavyweight division since turning pro, winning all his 14 fights – 13 of them by knockout – and picking up various regional and interim titles along the way. But he’s got his eye on the world title. And he’s getting closer with every fight.


Now he’s facing his biggest test yet, in a fight you can see live on BT Sport Box Office with Virgin Media on Saturday 24 September. Joseph Parker is an experienced and wily boxer who was WBO world champion from 2016 to 2018, earning him a showdown against Anthony Joshua, who held three belts at the time. The New Zealander lost on points that night, but he didn’t let it derail him – he has six wins in his last six fights and will feel he also deserves a shot at a world title.


Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s intriguing match-up between two talented, hungry heavyweights who are on track to reach the pinnacle of the sport.


Is Joyce the real deal?

In a word: yes. That KO record speaks for itself. But the phenomenal thing about Joyce is his resilience. He’s not renowned as one of the hardest hitters in the sport, but what he can do is take a punch. In his last fight, against German veteran Christian Hammer, he received repeated blows to the chin and body – with seemingly no effect. How do you defeat a boxer who doesn’t even notice when he’s been hit?


And make no mistake, Joyce can land telling blows of his own. His match against Daniel Dubois in 2020 saw two undefeated fighters facing off for the British, Commonwealth, European, WBC Silver and WBO International heavyweight titles – a genuine predictor of which boxer might rise to dominate the division. Joyce threw a devastating second-round jab, causing swelling that eventually led Dubois to throw in the towel.


So will he see off Parker?

Joyce is the bookies’ odds-on favourite. But the bookies don’t know everything. Parker might be six years Joyce’s junior but he’s vastly experienced, having turned pro at the age of 20. And like Joyce, he tore up the division from the start of his career, going unbeaten for 24 fights before he came up against AJ.


Parker has certainly not been moaning or slacking since losing his WBO title. Although he lost his first comeback fight to Dillian Whyte, he’s been steadily improving over the past couple of years – particularly since he split from his trainer and started working with Andy Lee, the man who coached Tyson Fury to world title glory. After a pair of convincing wins against Derek Chisora last year, he looks ready to give Joyce a serious challenge.


And where were those two victories? At the AO Arena in Manchester – the venue for this weekend’s face-off. It’s obviously somewhere the Auckland-born Parker feels at home.


What will happen after this fight?

The winner takes the interim WBO championship, which means they will get the chance to face Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk if those two meet for the undisputed heavyweight championship. Although there might be a rematch first.


Promoter Frank Warren is predicting great things for Joyce. “This is a match between two in-form and quality heavyweights fighting to be first in the queue for a world title shot,” he enthuses. “This is the perfect test of big Joe’s world championship credentials and victory over Parker would propel him into the top echelons of the division and right in the mix with the likes of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.”


Parker, not surprisingly, has other ideas. “On Saturday September 24, the fans in Manchester will see the very best of me,” he says. “And Joe Joyce will see exactly why I will become the heavyweight champion of the world again. I have waited patiently to get this fight on and let me tell you now, the Juggernaut’s journey ends right here. He has nowhere to run.”


Who’s on the undercard?

Amanda Serrano, one of the superstars of women’s boxing with world titles in an astonishing seven weight categories, will look to add another belt to her collection as she fights in the UK for the first time. The Puerto Rican fighter is the WBO, WBC and IBO featherweight champ and she’s gunning for Sarah Mahfoud’s IBF title. Last time out, though, she suffered just the second loss of her pro career when Ireland’s Katie Taylor took her lightweight world titles at Madison Square Garden. Can Serrano recover and re-assert her dominance at 57kg?


Belfast fighter Anthony Cacace has a chance to become IBO super featherweight champ when he faces undefeated Italian Michael Magnesi. There’s a welterweight bout between Nottingham’s Ekow Essuman and south Londoner Samuel Antwi, while super welterweight Nathan Heaney defends his IBO International title against Jack Flatley. The vacant women’s WBC International featherweight championship will be contested by Britain’s Raven Chapman and Argentina’s Jorgelina Guanini.


How do they measure up?


When is Joyce v Parker on TV?

You can see this heavyweight fight on BT Sport Box Office with Virgin Media from 6pm on Saturday 24 September. It’s available to order from 10am on Tuesday 20 September and costs £19.95 (HD only). The event is repeated every two hours from 8am on Sunday 25 September until 10pm on Monday 26 September (last playout).


How can I order the fight?

To watch this event, you must have a TiVo® box, Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo®, or Virgin TV 360 box.


TiVo® and V6 customers: Go to Home > On Demand > Live Events or press On Demand and go to Live Events. Press the red button then choose the event and follow the instructions on screen. A TV PIN may not be required. To view your booking, once purchased, go to On Demand > Live Events > Event Bookings.


Virgin TV 360 customers: Go to Home > Live Events, press OK then choose your event and follow the instructions on screen. A TV PIN may not be required. To view your booking, once purchased, go to Home > Saved > Rentals.


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TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.

HD: HD TV required to view HD channels.

BT Sport Box Office: TiVo® box, Virgin TV V6 box or Virgin TV 360 box is required to watch this event in HD.

A TV PIN will be required on TiVo® or Virgin TV 360 unless you have changed or make changes to the settings on your box. If you would like to disable the PPV pin prompt on TiVo, complete the following setting changes via your remote: go to Settings > Purchase Controls and ensure the setting is set to “allow purchases without a PIN”. This will disable all PIN prompts for content that does not conflict with the regulatory watershed requirements.

This event CANNOT be recorded and is NOT available to view/purchase via Liberate boxes. Repeats are free once you’ve ordered the event. If you miss the event, you can buy the repeats for the same price. The event is repeated every two hours from 8am on Sunday 25 September to 10pm on Monday 26 September (last playout). The event can be watched either live or On Demand during its repeat window.

To check the event has been purchased, TiVo® and V6 customers should go to Home > On Demand > Live Events. The event will be there with a status of “booked”. Virgin TV 360 customers should go to Home > Saved > Rentals. The event will be there.

If the fight card is changed after the event has been purchased, an equivalent match may be provided by the broadcaster. In this case, no refund would be provided. If the broadcaster cancels the event, then refunds can be applied.

Once a customer purchases the event, it is policy that refunds are not made unless there is a technical fault or the event is cancelled. It is useful for the customer to know that repeats take place on the following day for all Live Events in case they can’t make the time of the actual event.

TiVo® and V6 customers can view the event on a second TiVo® or V6 box associated with the account without additional purchase. Please note where the second box is a non TiVo® or V6 box it will not be viewable on that box. Once selected, it correctly displays “Purchased” and “View Now”. When “View Now” is selected, it then moves to “Event Bookings”.

Virgin TV 360 customers can view the event on a second Virgin TV 360 box associated with the account without additional purchase. Please note where the second box is a non Virgin TV 360 box it will not be viewable on that box. Customers should go to Home > Saved > Rentals. The event will be there.