Joseph Parker, Bryant Jennings agree to terms for Aug. 18 fight in Atlantic City
Joseph Parker can no longer call himself a heavyweight titleholder, but he’s jumping right back into the ring against a formidable foe.
Fresh off a decision defeat to unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in April, Parker and Bryant Jennings have an agreement in principle to fight on August 18 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told THE RING.
“We’re very excited with the fight … it will be a 12-round fight,” Arum said. “Great event opening up Ocean Resorts to boxing in Atlantic City. It’s a fight you don’t know who’s going to win and it’s world-class heavyweights.”
Arum started working on the fight not too long after Parker lost his title to Joshua in April, and it’s a natural. It pits Top Rank’s two top heavyweights and the winner will be positioned for another title shot down the road.
Jennings (23-2, 13 knockouts) already had his shot at the title, of course. The Philadelphian was outpointed by Wladimir Klitschko in April 2015, though Jennings surprised with how much success he had against the then-dominant heavyweight kingpin.
Later that year, Jennings was stopped by heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz in the seventh round, and since that December evening, he’s been in rebuild mode.
The 33-year-old signed with Top Rank and retooled against soft opposition, scoring three consecutive victories within three rounds. He stepped his competition up with a 10-round decision victory over Joey Dawejko in April, and now Jennings is ready to prove he’s deserving of another title shot.
“This is a chance that most don’t get again,” Jennings told THE RING in a text message. “The pace and the back uphill battle is deemed to be a successful one unlike the last.”
Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) will be looking to prove the same. The 26-year-old native of New Zealand claimed the WBO title with a razor-thin decision victory over Andy Ruiz in December 2016. Parker successfully defended it twice in ho-hum points wins over Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury before he met the best heavyweight in the world.
Parker was given little chance to upend Joshua, but THE RING’s No. 4 heavyweight gave him some issues with his defense and movement and became the first fighter to last the distance with the hard-punching Brit.
Now, Parker is one victory away from showing he deserves another crack at heavyweight glory.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger