PROVIDING Dereck Chisora gets past Artur Szpilka on July 20 in London, there’s every chance the warrior formerly known as ‘Del Boy’ will square off against Joseph Parker later in the year.
That’s the plan promoter Eddie Hearn has in mind following Parker’s straightforward tenth round stoppage win over Alex Leapai on Saturday (June 29) in Providence.
“I thought Joe was really sharp, really good,” Hearn told IFL TV. “I think after about three rounds he decided the risk wasn’t worth it and coasted through the rest of the fight.
“He slowed down and took his time.”
Parker, of course, is enjoying newfound relevance in the heavyweight division as a result of Andy Ruiz Jnr’s stunning upset win against Anthony Joshua on June 1. Ruiz has just the one defeat on his record, a loss he has yet to avenge, and it came at the hands of Parker in 2016. This means the New Zealander is not only in line for a rematch at some point but could, if Ruiz holds on to all three of his titles (WBA, IBF and WBO), land yet another world title fight.
In the meantime, Parker will use newfound relevance to leverage his position at the negotiating table. He will use to it to pursue rematches with Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua, both of whom he called out after the Leapai win, and, more realistically, manoeuvre himself into the A-side slot in a fight against Chisora before Christmas.
“We can push on from here and Parker vs. Chisora on the AJ (Anthony Joshua) undercard in November makes perfect sense,” said Hearn.
“Loads of fights make sense: Alex Povetkin, Oleksandr Usyk, Michael Hunter, Murat Gassiev is a really good fight for him.
“But I really like the Chisora fight, if Derek gets through his July fight.”
Though Chisora looked bereft of inspiration in April, when harassing a negative Senad Gashi for 10 rounds, we should expect a better version of him to show up against the skilful but beatable Szpilka on July 20. After that, things get serious again – both for Chisora and Parker.
He doesn’t know the identity of his next opponent, but WBA super-middleweight Callum Smith does know his next fight will take place in September and that an offer has been received for him to face newly crowned WBO champion and fellow Brit Billy Joe Saunders.
Saunders’ promoter, Frank Warren, revealed in a talkSPORT column that he had contacted Smith about the possibility of he and Saunders unifying their WBA and WBO belts and Smith, last seen destroying Hassan N’Dam in New York on June 1, has now confirmed an offer has been received.
“That is a fight that probably does make sense,” he said, speaking to talkSPORT’s Fight Night. “How easy it is to make, I’m not too sure.
“I have never sat and called anyone out. I have always sat down with my team and have given the options and gone with what is best. We will sit down and go with what is best for me.
“I am in a good position. There are a lot of big fights out there for me. The next years of my career are very exciting and I want to fight the best. I want to know how good I am.
“I believe in my own ability but when I retire I want to know I maximised my potential and the only way to do that is by fighting some of the other best fighters in the world. That is the plan for me moving forward.
“I do believe they have made an offer. I’m not sure of the ins and outs of it. I do believe it was a 50/50 split on BT Sport pay-per-view. That is the only detail I know so far. We will speak through it (this week) and if that is the next move, then that is the next move.”
As well as Saunders, Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has been touted as a possible opponent for Smith later in the year. The three-weight world champion, audaciously linked to a fight against light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev over the weekend, would land Smith the kind of cash windfall no other fight in his division could possibly match. It’s for this reason he is very much open to the idea.
For now, though, patience is key for Smith, as has seemingly been the case for much of his career. Whether Alvarez or Saunders, he can sense a big fight is in the offing – a much-needed big fight, it must be said – and that his career needs to get a move on following some lost momentum in the wake of a superb victory over George Groves last year.
“I will fight in September regardless of whether it is over in the States or in Liverpool,” he said. “My last three fights have all been abroad so it would be good to get one in Liverpool again and fight for the first time as world champion back at home.
“I’ve got a meeting with my team (this week). We will sit down and assess all the options and hopefully we can get some fight news pretty soon.”
Callum Smith could be the best super-middleweight on the planet right now. He could even be a pound-for-pound star. But routine wins against the likes of Hassan N’Dam won’t move us any closer to finding answers.
Alvarez and Saunders? Now that’s a different thing entirely.