A FIGHT between Zhang Zhilei and Joseph Parker is good enough to be it’s own main event but on Friday (March 8) it will instead act as a terrific chief support bout to bill-toppers Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou.

Last year Zhang emerged as one of the biggest threats to those at the top having, defeated Joe Joyce impressively on two occasions, while Parker, under the guidance of trainer Andy Lee, has rediscovered his mojo, with his win against Deontay Wilder was one of 2023’s big surprises.

In Zhang and Parker we have two top 10 contenders in good form, both with momentum behind them. It’s a tough one to call, but what does the trade think? Boxing News contacted a number of figures within the industry to get their predictions.

  1. Ben Shalom: (Promoter) – Parker-Zhang is too close to call. Slightly favour Parker. Marginal.
  2. Callum Johnson: (Cruiserweight) – I fancy Zhang to win. I think Zhang is a dangerous man for anyone especially over six rounds. I think he might just be too much for Parker.
  3. Charlie Edwards: (Bantamweight) – I believe this will be very cagey to start off with. But off the back of the Wilder fight I think we could see an upset again with Parker taking a points win moving in and out with his footwork and timing.
  4. Billy Nelson: (Trainer) – Zhang to be too big, strong and awkward for Joe and to win by stoppage.
  5. Caoimhin Agyarko: (Super-welterweight) – I think Parker is up against it. Both are coming off good wins but I think Zhang wins by late stoppage.
  6. Arnie Farnell: (Trainer) – I think Zhang will stop Parker. Zhang is an awkward southpaw who can bang and is a difficult fight for anyone. The straight left down the middle or left uppercut to the body does Parker, I think.
  7. Archie Sharp: (Super-featherweight) – Zhang-Parker is a great matchup. I think Parker’s gonna do it, but I think it’ll go the distance and he’ll win on points.
  8. Aston Brown: (Middleweight) – Edging towards a Zhang stoppage in the second half of the fight.
  9. Solomon Dacres: (Heavyweight) – Parker to win on points.
  10. Mark Neilson: (Promoter) – Zhang is possibly Parker’s worst nightmare with advantages in every area. This could be a long night for Parker, and I see a late stoppage victory for Zhang if he can maintain the pace.
  11. Izzy Asif: (Promoter) – Parker to win on points.
  12. Emma Dolan: (Super-flyweight) – I believe Parker will win and out-box Zhang. It will be a hard fight, but I believe the fight Parker had with Joyce would have taught him a lot and he will box and move his way to victory.
  13. Conor Quinn: (Flyweight) – I will have to go for a Zhang win. I think Parker is a great fighter and what a performance he gave against Wilder, but I think Zhang is too big and too strong.
  14. Junaid Bostan: (Super-welterweight) – Zhang to win.
  15. Jack Flatley: (Super-welterweight) –  I’d favour Parker to win with a bit more experience and being on a good run of form.
  16. Callum Simpson: (Super-middleweight) – Zhang by KO.
  17. Jamie Conlan: (Promoter) – Zhang and Parker are both riding high on momentum after their previous wins. Zhang will be a hard man to out-box, I see Zhang winning on points.
  18. Karris Artingstall: (Featherweight) – As long as Parker stays switched on doesn’t get clipped with a heavy shot, I think Parker will win on points.
  19. Iain Wilson: (Promoter) – Zhang by stoppage.
  20. Jay Harris: (Flyweight) – I’m going to go for Parker to win on points. I think he’ll out-box him and I think the momentum is with him after the win over Wilder.
  21. Chris Sanigar: (Promoter) – Joseph Parker to win on points although I think Zhang is the dangerman of the division. Joseph must not stand square on and trade, he must be mobile and frustrate Zhang.
  22. Mark Dunlop: (Promoter) – I believe that Joseph Parker will out-box and outwork Zhang and win a clear points decision. He will simply be too busy.
  23. Jon Pegg: (Trainer) – Parker to win on points. Experience and speed to make the difference.
  24. Kal Yafai: (Former super-flyweight) –  I can’t write Joe off against anyone but just think Zhang’s size and southpaw style can be all wrong for him so I’ve got to go with Zhang.
  25. Linus Udofia: (Middleweight) – Zhang to win by majority decision.
  26. Mark Jeffers: (Super-middleweight) – Zhang by KO.
  27. Gamal Yafai: (Former super-bantamweight) –  Zhang on points.
  28. Jack Bateson: (Featherweight) – I think Zhang will prove too strong and if he lands he could even hurt and stop Parker.
  29. Kaisy Khademi: (Super-flyweight) –  I got Zhang winning by late stoppage.
  30. Harry Scarff: (Welterweight) – Hard to go with Parker in this one. Zhang was robbed against Hrgovic and then there’s the comparison with the Joyce fights. Parker’s improved but the Wilder he fought was a shadow of what he used to be. I pick Zhang.
  31. Kevin Maree: (Manager) – Zhang could be the best heavyweight out there at the moment. A well-schooled, huge heavyweight southpaw will take some beating.
  32. Mason Cartwright: (Super-welterweight) – Zhang to beat Parker on a close points decision.
  33. Gary Logan: (Trainer) – Parker, coached by Andy Lee, is a different cat now. I think his movement causes Zhang lots of problems. I’m going for the Parker-Andy Lee ‘album’ to have another ‘hit record’ on points.
  34. Liam Dillon: (Super-featherweight) – Parker is very experienced, and we saw against Wilder his movement has improved massively. But I think Zhang is gonna win a close points decision. He hits hard and has got great timing and will keep Parker on the back foot.
  35. Sam Noakes: (Lightweight) – Zhang beats Parker.
  36. Robbie Davies Jr: (Super-lightweight) – I’m going for Parker on points, but if he holds his feet too much, we could see a Zhang stoppage win.
  37. Kevin Mitchell: (Former lightweight) – Zhang. He’s a very good heavyweight and he’s a big threat to the division. I think he’ll knock Parker out in seven rounds.
  38. Troy Williamson: (Super-welterweight) – Parker to win on points.
  39. Joe Hughes: (Former super-lightweight) – I think Parker will win on points. Zhang will be dangerous for the first half, but I expect him to tire as the fight goes and Parker to take over.
  40. Ekow Essuman: (Welterweight) – Zhang will be looking for the big bang in the early rounds. And Parker will be looking to drag things into the later rounds because Zhang tends to gas a little. I reckon Parker will win.
  41. Tony Sims: (Trainer) – Parker has fast hands and a good boxing brain. Zhang also has a good boxing brain and big power. This fight could go either way but I’m going for Zhang by late stoppage.
  42. Eddie Lam: (Trainer) – I think Zhang’s size and southpaw stance may give him the edge over Parker.
  43. Nina Hughes: (Bantamweight) – Zhang v Parker is a very close call, but I think Zhang’s size and power may be the deciding factor.
  44. Matthew Hatton: (Trainer) – Zhang by KO.
  45. Shakan Pitters: (Light-heavyweight) – Zhang on points.
  46. Sean Noakes: (Welterweight) –  Zhang wins between rounds six and nine.
  47. Duke McKenzie: (Pundit) – Parker exposed Wilder for the crude puncher he is and dominated him. But Parker has been beaten three times in the past and I expect him to be beaten again. Zhang, who himself is coming off two fine wins against Joe Joyce, has more than enough to secure another fine win inside the distance.
  48. Wayne Alexander: (Former super-welterweight) – Parker’s coming off that upset victory against Wilder, but he’s been beaten before and down before. Zhang is fresh and I think he’s hungrier and he’s the bigger and stronger guy. I believe his extra power and strength and hunger will get him through on a wide points decision.
  49. Chris Bourke: (Bantamweight) – I think Zhang could catch Parker coming in and stop him middle to late rounds of the fight.
  50. Nick Campbell: (Heavyweight) – I think Zhang is a handful for anyone, but I believe Parker will have the edge coming into the later rounds. Having Andy Lee in his corner gives him a real edge the longer the fight goes.
  51. Denzel Bentley: (Middleweight) –  I’m picking Zhang by stoppage.
  52. Steve Goodwin: (Promoter) – Zhang to beat Parker by stoppage. Parker does not do well against bigger fighters (Whyte, Joyce, etc). Wilder was finished when he boxed him.
  53. Bradley Rea: (Super-middleweight) –  Zhang on points.
  54. Hannah Rankin: (Super-welterweight) – I’m going with Parker. It’s a tough fight but he’s coming off some great performances and I feel with Andy Lee in his corner he’ll have the right gameplan to get the win against Zhang.
  55. Samuel Antwi: (Super-welterweight) – Zhang to win by KO.
  56. Nathan Heaney: (Middleweight) – Zhang to win.
  57. Jason Cunningham: (Super-bantamweight) – Zhang by KO.
  58. Anthony Yarde: (Light-heavyweight) – Zhang by KO.
  59. Chris Jenkins: (Welterweight) – Zhang is the favourite but after Parker’s last performance I think he and Andy Lee will have a gameplan to nick a points win.
  60. Dave Coldwell: (Trainer) – I think this version of Parker under Andy Lee is a very good fighter and I think if he’s smart for the first four-five rounds and picks away then I think he beats Zhang. Parker to win on points.
  61. Maisey Rose Courtney: (Super-flyweight) – Zhang knocked out Joe Joyce, but I was quite surprised by how Parker made Wilder look very average. If Parker brings the same boxing brain he did for Wilder I believe he’ll get the win but the way Zhang boxes is unbelievable and he’s underrated so I’m sitting on the fence for this one.
  62. Tori-Ellis Willetts: (Flyweight) – Zhang points or stoppage.
  63. Jason Moloney: (Bantamweight) – This is a great fight, and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds. I just feel that Zhang is a hard man to deal with. A big man and a difficult style to handle. I’m tipping Zhang in a close decision.
  64. Liam Davies: (Super-bantamweight) – I see Parker beating Zhang on points. He is on a good run and found his feet again under Andy Lee.
  65. Cyrus Pattinson: (Welterweight) – Zhang to win by KO.

Result: Zhang 42 votes, Parker 22 votes, one undecided vote.

And for even more industry predictions collected by BN click the video below.