Whyte vs Parker: How have fighters’ comeback after suffering first career loss to Anthony Joshua?

By Neel Khagram

Joseph Parker and Dillian Whyte both surrendered their undefeated professional records to Anthony Joshua.

New Zealand’s former WBO heavyweight word champion lost his title to ‘AJ’ on points last time out, whilst Brixton’s ‘Body Snatcher’ suffered defeat for the first time in the paid ranks in his 17th contest, despite holding a win over the current unified titlist in the amateurs.

Both Whyte and Parker will now be hoping to put themselves into world title contention when they clash at London’s O2 Arena, this Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office – but how much bearing will their loss to Joshua, who makes the defence of his titles against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, on September 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office, prove to be in their careers?

We analyse how formerly undefeated fighters have reacted after losing to ‘AJ’.

 

5 October 2013, Emanuele Leo (8-0-KO3)

Joshua, fresh off an Olympic gold medal at the London 2012 games, made his professional debut against Italy’s undefeated Emanuele Leo.

Despite his record on paper, Leo did not prove a match for the amateur star and was brutally stopped in the first round, and has not boxed since.

 

9 April 2015, Gary Cornish (21-0-KO12)

Cornish boasted an impressive 21-fight undefeated streak going into his bout against Joshua, and was hopeful of causing an upset and win the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title.

However, all hopes were ended in the first round as ‘AJ’ put his opponent down with a big right hand before finishing the bout with a spiteful left.

Since his defeat, the Scotsman recorded three straightforward wins against lesser opponents before losing to Sam Sexton for the vacant British title last October.

 

12 December 2015, Dillian Whyte (16-0-KO13)

The bout billed as ‘Bad Intentions’ certainly lived up to the hype as both Joshua and Whyte put their rivalry on the line in front of an expectant crowd at London’s O2 Arena.

Emotions threatened to spill over at the end of the first round as both fighters had to be separated by their various corner-men after the bell, before a devastating left hook from Whyte in the second visibly shook ‘AJ’ as an upset looked to be on the cards.

However, the ‘Body Snatcher’ was unable to capitalise due to a shoulder injury, as Joshua rode out the storm to put his opponent on the floor with an uppercut in the seventh to end proceedings.

Since his defeat, Whyte has stated on record that he is taking his preparations more seriously and rebuilt with two solid victories against David Allen and Ian Lewinson respectively, before winning a 2016 fight-of-the year contender against Dereck Chisora by split-decision.

The 30-year-old has subsequently been climbing up the various rankings and seemed to put himself in line for a shot against WBC champion Deontay Wilder after stopping Lucas Browne in March, but the fighter never materialised.

The ‘Body Snatcher’ will now be hoping that victory this Saturday night against a newly dethroned world champion will finally earn him his first title shot.

 

9 April 2016, Charles Martin (23-0-1-KO21)

Joshua fought for his first world title against IBF champion Charles Martin in only his 16th contest.

‘Prince Charles’, who had famously said in The Gloves Are Off that he ‘’walks this earth like a god’’,  was no match for ‘AJ’, who brutally put the champion on the floor with a straight right in the second, before finishing the fight moments later with the same shot.

Martin has since had out-of-the-ring issues which resulted in inactivity following his loss, but two wins against journeymen last year and no upcoming fight scheduled perhaps suggests his appetite to return to the pinnacle of the sports is not what it once was.

 

25 June 2016, Dominic Breazeale (17-0-KO15)

‘AJ’ made the first defence of his crown against former college American Footballer, Dominic Breazeale, at London’s O2 Arena.

‘Trouble’ had brief moments of success, but it was Joshua’s superior hand speed and punch power which proved to be the ultimate difference as the Californian was stopped in the seventh round.

Since his defeat, Breazeale returned the following February to knockout formerly undefeated Izuagbe Ugonoh in a bloody encounter, before stopping former Joshua opponent Eric Molina last November.

The 32-year-old does not have an upcoming fight scheduled in yet, but is highly ranked by the WBC, and could be next in line to box Deontay Wilder now that Dillian Whyte is fighting Joseph Parker, and Joshua is fulfilling his WBA mandatory obligation against Alexander Povetkin.

 

31 March 2018, Joseph Parker (24-0-KO18)

Parker was left frustrated at his lack of aggression as he lost his WBO title to Joshua at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, despite taking ‘AJ’ the distance for the first time in his career.

The 26-year-old’s height and reach disadvantage was evident from the off, and despite some brief moments of success to the body in the mid-rounds, he was unable to launch the attacks needed to trouble Joshua, who is now only one belt away from becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

For Parker, this Saturday will be a new experience as he fights for the first time having lost his ‘0’, but victory over Whyte should be enough motivation to keep his mind switched on as he starts his pursuit to become a two-time king.