Parker to fight Zhang in March 8 co-feature


Joseph Parker will fight Zhilei Zhang in the March 8 co-feature to Anthony Joshua-Francis Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sources told ESPN.

Both fighters are rated in ESPN’s top 10 at heavyweight: Parker is No. 4 while Zhang is No. 5.

Parker (34-3, 33 KOs) is coming off a dominant decision win over Deontay Wilder in a major upset last month in Riyadh. Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) scored back-to-back stoppage wins over Joe Joyce last year in a breakthrough campaign.

Zhang’s lone defeat came via controversial decision to Filip Hrgovic in 2022 in Riyadh, a fight where Zhang floored his opponent.

The 40-year-old from China is the biggest heavyweight contender in the world at 6-foot-6, 287-plus pounds. Zhang is a southpaw who carries a big punch, and he’s knocking on the door of a world title shot.

New Zealand’s Parker, 32, has scored four consecutive wins since an 11th-round KO loss to Joyce in 2022. A former heavyweight titleholder, Parker won the vacant WBO belt when he narrowly outpointed Andy Ruiz in 2016.

Parker’s other two defeats came in 2018, back-to-back decision losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.

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