A terrific all-British super middleweight clash now has a set fight date and venue.
Queensberry Promotions has confirmed that the previously agreed Zach Parker-John Ryder fight will take place on November 26 at The O2 in London. The interim WBO super middleweight title will be at stake for the fight, which will air live on BT Sport.
The winner will be first in line for the main WBO super middleweight title, whether in a direct shot at undisputed champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (58-2-2, 39KOs) or an upgrade to full title status.
“We have got a cracking show lined up for The 02, headlined by what should be an absolute stormer between our man Zach Parker and the highly respected John Ryder for the WBO Interim world title at super middleweight,” said Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, head of Queensberry Promotions. “We were expecting Zach to come up against Demetrius Andrade, but with Andrade having pulled out for the second time, now it gives us a bigger domestic clash against Ryder.”
The show’s undercard will include a Commonwealth junior featherweight title fight between Dennis McCann (13-0, 7KOs) and Glasgow’s Joe Ham (17-3, 6KOs); a Commonwealth title fight between unbeaten lightweights Sam Noakes (9-0, 9KOs) and Scot Calvin McCord (11-0, 2KOs); plus unbeaten rising prospects Hamzah Sheeraz (16-0, 12KOs) and Pierce O’Leary (10-0, 6KOs) in separate bouts against opponents to be determined.
The development in the main event comes less than a week after terms were reached between Parker and Ryder. The pairing came about as a contingency plan after former two-division titlist Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19KOs) twice bailed from plans to face Parker (22-0, 16KOs) for the interim title that the American southpaw requested—one due to injury and the second time due to disinterest.
The two were due to meet May 21 in Derby, per the terms of a purse bid won by Warren’s Queensberry Promotions after bidding $1,834.500—edging out Matchroom Boxing ($1,750,000) who promoted Andrade at the time—to secure the fight. Andrade—a 34-year-old southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island—was due to make $1,192,132.50 for the dangerous road trip but withdrew from the fight in early May after suffering a shoulder injury requiring surgery.
Andrader has since vacated his WBO middleweight title to pursue an interim super middleweight title fight once again with Parker. There was considerably less promotional interest the second time around, with Queensberry reclaiming fight rights for just $305,000 as the lone bidder. The paycut of more than 80 percent was not as enticing to Andrade, who walked away from the fight that was eyed for November 5 in Derby.
Ryder (31-5, 17KOs) emerged as a surprise entry to land the assignment against Parker. The 34-year-old southpaw from Islington, London found himself in high demand, with his name attached to rumored fights with unbeaten former WBO junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia (40-3, 32KOs)—now campaigning at middleweight and super middleweight—and Nuyorican budding 168-pound contender Edgar Berlanga (20-0, 16KOs).
A fight with Parker was deemed as the most efficient way for Ryder to make his way back to the title picture.
Ryder has won three straight since a highly questionable twelve-round defeat to then-unbeaten WBA super middleweight titlist Callum Smith. Their November 2019 title consolidation clash saw Ryder—who held the interim WBA title at the time—travel to Smith’s Liverpool hometown and seemingly do enough to dethrone the local favorite. Judges Terry O’Connor (117-111), Francisco Alloza Rosa (116-112) and Jose Roberto Torres (116-112) saw otherwise, with their wide scores ridiculed by the majority of the boxing public who didn’t even have Smith as the outright winner.
A three-fight winning streak has emerged in the aftermath, including a narrow and debatable twelve-round, split decision win over former middleweight titlist Daniel Jacobs on February 12 at Alexandra Palace in North London. The clash with Parker will come three years almost to the day of his disputed defeat to Smith.
Parker has held the top position since a March 2020 knockout win over Rohan Murdock just prior to the pandemic. The unbeaten 28-year-old has since won three fights, including a fourth-round stoppage of Marcus Morrison last November 6 in Birmingham, England. He has yet to fight in 2022, though largely due to waiting on previously scheduled interim title fights with Andrade that never materialized.
Patience has paid off for the unbeaten contender, who is finally one win away from reaching for the WBO super middleweight crown.
“The winner will be the mandatory for when Canelo Alvarez is forced back into action at super middleweight or elects to vacate his belts,” pointed out Warren.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox