By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker respects what Dillian Whyte wants.
The former WBO heavyweight champion completely understands Whyte’s preference for a title fight after everything Whyte has endured while awaiting a shot at WBC champion Deontay Wilder. But if England’s Whyte overcomes Colombian contender Oscar Rivas on July 13 and still can’t land a title shot, Parker would welcome a rematch with Whyte.
“Listen, if he gave me the call, I’d definitely fight him,” Parker told BoxingScene.com. “I respect what he’s trying to achieve. He’s trying to be the champion of the world and fight for the title. But if he doesn’t get the opportunity and doesn’t have the chance, I’ll be willing to take the fight. If they give me a call and say, ‘You’re fighting [Whyte] next month,’ I’m ready. I’m ready to fight him again and avenge the loss I have to him. I know I can beat him. On the day, you know, he was the better man. But I know, deep down, I can beat him if I have a rematch with him.”
Whyte and New Zealand’s Parker produced a closely contested, entertaining 12-round fight last July 28 at O2 Arena in London. Parker suffered knockdowns during the second and ninth rounds, but he came back to drop Whyte in the 12th round.
Whyte topped Parker on all three scorecards (115-110, 114-111, 113-112). Whyte went on to knock out Dereck Chisora in the 11th round of their rematch December 22 at O2 Arena.
DAZN will stream the bout between Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) and Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) two weeks from Saturday from O2 Arena. Parker (25-2, 19 KOs) will make his DAZN debut Saturday night, when he’ll square off against Australia’s Alex Leapai (32-7-4, 26 KOs).
Leapai replaced American veteran Eric Molina (27-5, 19 KOs) as Parker’s opponent on short notice. The 12-round bout between Parker and Leapai will be part of the Demetrius Andrade-Maciej Sulecki undercard at Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
“I’m excited about the partnership,” Parker said. “I know this is the first fight with DAZN and with Matchroom. I feel that if I can continue to put on the performances that I know I can put on, and look good and look sharp in the ring with the fights that I have coming up, I believe that down the line we can have a rematch with Dillian Whyte and a rematch with Joshua. I think we can put on some big fights with DAZN.”
England’s Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), who out-pointed Parker in their title unification fight in March 2018, is committed to an immediate rematch with newly crowned IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champ Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs). That commitment, coupled with Wilder’s game plan to take back-to-back rematches with Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury, provides Parker with some optimism regarding getting a rematch with Whyte.
“I think that’s something that could definitely happen,” Parker said. “If he doesn’t get a title shot, I’m here and I’m willing to do that rematch. He’s the type of fighter that doesn’t shy away from challenges, so I think it’ll be great to get a rematch. But it just depends on how things match up. Hopefully, we can make it happen.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.