Joseph Parker Openly Seeking Sequel Against Andy Ruiz Jr.: “I Think I Can Definitely Stop Him”
By: Hans Themistode
It was a long and painful fall from grace for former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. At one point, the New Zealand native proudly held his world title and defended it successfully against all comers. However, following back-to-back defeats at the hands of both Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte – Parker began scrambling for answers.
Subsequently, the 30-year-old has gone back to the drawing board and returned as a new man. As a result, the proud New Zealander has reeled off six consecutive victories and now finds himself firmly in the thick of things for another world title opportunity.
With championship glory within his reach, Parker reveals that he’s recently reached out to his longtime rival, Andy Ruiz Jr. The two clashed in December of 2016, with the vacant WBO crown on the line. Though their contest was extremely close, it was Parker who emerged with the majority decision victory.
Considering that Ruiz Jr. is a marquee name in the heavyweight division, Parker would love the opportunity to run things back.
“It was a close fight, the first fight with Andy,” said Parker during an interview with Behind The Gloves. “I want to make that fight. My manager David Higgins has been trying to get in touch with his management or his promotional team. At the moment, we haven’t heard back but I even text Andy myself and said ‘hey, it would be great if we can have a rematch.’ He said he’ll keep that in mind.”
Ruiz Jr., 31, has seen his standing in the pugilistic sport change dramatically since his first meeting with Parker. The Mexican native strung together a three-fight win streak before facing off against former unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua in 2019. Though Ruiz Jr. was viewed as a sizable underdog, he waltzed into New York’s Madison Square Garden and proceeded to violently rip away Joshua’s heavyweight titles via seventh-round stoppage.
Although his championship reign was transient, Ruiz Jr. has rededicated himself to the sport of boxing with the help of Eddy Reynoso and pound-for-pound star, Canelo Alvarez. In Ruiz Jr.’s first trip to the ring since dropping his heavyweight titles, he outpointed fringe contender Chris Arreola.
Despite the ups and downs of his career, Parker applauds Ruiz Jr.’s accomplishments. Still, if a sequel between the pair can be organized, Parker not only believes he’ll emerge victorious once again, but this time around, he’ll do so in brutal fashion.
“He’s done a lot since we first fought,” admitted Parker. “I’ve done quite a bit as well since we first fought. I think it would be a great matchup but I back myself to take care of business. He’s very durable and very tough. He has that Mexican style and that Mexican sort of confidence within himself but in the heavyweight division, one punch can change everything. If I land a good punch, I think I can definitely stop him.”
Joseph Parker Eyeing Showdown’s Against Dillian Whyte And Joe Joyce
By: Hans Themistode
Joseph Parker heard all the naysayers and doubters in the background.
Despite picking up the split decision victory over Dereck Chisora on May 1st, earlier this year, there were many, including Chisora, who believed he was given a raw deal. The long-time heavyweight contender pointed to his first-round knockdown and relentless pressure as the main reason why he should’ve been given the victory.
Still, while Parker could have accepted his somewhat controversial victory and went in a different direction, the former WBO heavyweight belt holder wanted to prove a point. In an effort to demonstrate his superiority to Chisora, Parker accepted a deal to run things back. But while Chisora was hoping for another outcome, Parker had a point to prove. The 29-year-old battered his man throughout the course of 12 rounds, resulting in three knockdowns and a unanimous decision victory.
Although Parker was pleased with his showing this time around, he tipped his cap to his long-time rival.
“I got the win and a more convincing performance,” said Parker during an interview with IFL TV. “He’s one tough guy. He just kept coming forward. Every time I hurt him, he knew how to recover and he kept coming back more and more. I got him hurt and he just kept coming back and kept coming back. What a warrior.”
With the win, Parker has successfully rebuilt his image following a disastrous 2018. During the year, Parker picked up the first defeat of his career at the hands of Anthony Joshua. In the process, he was also stripped of his WBO heavyweight title. Parker would then follow up that loss with another, this time at the hands of Dillian Whyte.
Despite those losses, Parker has reeled off six straight victories. In addition to that, he now finds himself ranked highly in three of the four sanctioning bodies, including number four in the WBC and IBF and number two in the WBO.
If, however, Parker is unable to fight for a world title in his next ring appearance, he has two names in mind that he would love to take on instead.
“It would be cool to fight Dillian again in a rematch. There’s Joe Joyce, I think his name was mentioned a few times. I don’t really care.”
Joseph Parker Packs On The Pounds, Dereck Chisora Slims Down: Officially Weigh In Results
By: Hans Themistode
After being forced to fight off the back foot and deal with relentless pressure from Dereck Chisora for much of their first contest, Joseph Parker has packed on the pounds.
With the pair set to square off for a second consecutive time at the Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom, this Saturday night, both men stepped onto the scales having taken different methods during their respective training camps.
During their first contest, which took place seven months ago, saw Parker weigh in at 241 pounds. This time around, he tipped the scales at 251 pounds. Throughout the entirety of the New Zealand native’s career, he’s routinely weighed-in around 235 pounds. His new and heavier frame checks in at a career-high.
Regardless of the extra pounds, Parker will look to build off his momentum after a disastrous 2018. The now 29-year-old suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, the former resulted in the forfeiture of his WBO heavyweight title.
Since then, however, Parker has reeled off five consecutive victories, three of which have come inside the distance.
As for Chisora, the 37-year-old fringe contender has peeled off a few pounds since his first encounter with Parker. Officially, the British native checked in at 248 pounds as opposed to the 250½ he weighed seven months prior.
After dropping the former titlist in the opening moments of the first round, Chisora fought Parker on mostly terms. Still, despite what he believes was a clear decision victory, Chisora was acrimonious by the final result. With back-to-back defeats, the former coming at the hands of current unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, Chisora has stated time and time again that he fully intends on hunting the knockout this time around against Parker.
Dereck Chisora Vs. Joseph Parker 2 Set For December 18th
By: Hans Themistode
Dereck Chisora was incredulous when the results were first announced. Believing he did more than enough to earn a victory against Joseph Parker, Chisora was stunned when it was actually Parker’s hand that was raised after a hard-fought 12 rounds on May 1st.
After admitting that their bout was a close affair, both Parker and Chisora have decided to do it again.
On December 18th, at Manchester Arena, the original scene of the crime, both heavyweight contenders are set to lock horns once more.
Chisora’s belief that he won their first showdown, stems from the fast start he got off to. After flooring his man in the opening round, Chisora continued to up the pace throughout the first half of their contest.
Ultimately though, Parker would find his rhythm and hold his ground. The former WBO heavyweight titlist seemingly had much more in the gas tank during the championship rounds and took advantage of both his better gas tank and a fatigued Chisora to eke out the victory.
For Parker, the win represented his fifth straight since picking up back-to-back losses at the hands of Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in 2018. Currently, the 29-year-old is ranked number two in the WBO sanctioning body and could be on the verge of landing a title shot.
As for Chisora, he now finds himself in the midst of a two-fight losing streak. Shortly before picking up the loss to Parker, Chisora was handed a close unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk.
In preparation for his immediate rematch with Parker, Chisora has been spotted sparring current unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua.
Joe Joyce Eyes Joseph Parker Showdown: “Let’s Dance”
By: Hans Themistode
Joe Joyce has done everything right thus far.
The 35-year-old heavyweight contender has successfully defeated everyone placed in front of him. Now, he finds himself ranked number two in the WBO sanctioning body and is on the verge of his first world title shot.
Recently, the relentless former Olympic silver medalist made quick work of fringe contender Carlos Takam, stopping him in the sixth round earlier this year. Before that, Joyce picked up the most impressive win of his relatively brief career, a tenth-round stoppage against highly touted contender, Daniel Dubois.
While Joyce could sit back on his laurels and wait for his world title shot, the British native appears more interested in keeping his engine revving. In an effort to stay sharp until his title fight arrives, Joyce is fascinated in testing himself against a former champion.
“Yo what’s happening Joseph Parker?” Said Joyce on his social media account. “Let’s dance bro!”
Much like Joyce, Parker also enjoys a high placement within the WBO, currently pegged as its third-highest contender.
After picking up several high quality wins against the likes of Andy Ruiz Jr. and Hughie Fury, Parker enjoyed a title reign which spanned over a year and a half. His time at the top of the division, however, took a significant hit.
Parker’s fall from grace started against Anthony Joshua in 2018. The New Zealand native appeared lethargic and unwilling to exchange during their showdown. Ultimately, Parker’s hesitation resulted in the first defeat of his career and the forfeiture of his world title. Four months later, Parker would lose again, this time, against Dillian Whyte.
Since those back-to-back defeats, Parker has vowed to become an improved fighter. The 29-year-old is now riding a five-fight win streak. Most recently, Parker eked out a close split decision against journeymen Dereck Chisora earlier this year.
With Parker anxious to regain his championship status, a matchup against Joyce could provide him with the springboard needed to get back on the world title stage.
Joseph Parker Picks Himself Up Off The Deck, Decisions Derek Chisora
By: Hans Themistode
For long-time heavyweight journeymen Dereck Chisora, he appeared only moments away bagging the biggest win of his career and moving from perpetual gatekeeper to certified contender.
Heading into his showdown against former world champion Joseph Parker, Chisora believed his man would fold the moment he felt his power. He almost proved to be Nostradamus as Parker hit the deck within the first ten seconds of the opening round. While he quickly rose back to his feet, Chisora jumped all over him. Not appearing to have his legs completely underneath him, Parker opted to move away from the looping right hands of Chisora.
With round one safely in the bag for Chisora, he followed up his momentum with an aggressive round two. The British native pounded away at the body of Parker and found a home for a deceptive left hand over the top. Parker, on the other hand, was visibly rattled. The former titlist struggled with both the timing and physicality of Chisora and had little to no answers. But while Parker was constantly on the wrong end of an early offensive onslaught, Chisora was slowing down.
The lumbering heavyweight breathed deeply in between rounds as he listened to the instructions given to him in his corner. With a chance to steal a bit of momentum, Parker wasted no time. He pushed out a consistent jab that snapped Chisora’s head back and snuck in a few powerful right hooks that, at least momentarily, stopped him right in his tracks.
As the midway point of their contest rolled by, Chisora was still presumably ahead. Yet, the aggression he displayed early on became less and less apparent. He traded in body shots and hooks to the head for grappling on the inside as he attempted to catch his second wind. Luckily for Chisora, he got what he was looking for as began pushing the pace once again in round eight. Refusing to be outworked for a second time, Parker fired back with several hard shots of his own and towards the end of the round, appeared to hurt the 37-year-old Chisora.
As the championship rounds came around, Chisora was unquestionably dead tired. His high work rate slowed to a crawl as he simply defended himself while walking into big shots. Parker, while tired himself, responded well to the final few rounds. He bounced on his toes as if to say he had plenty left in the tank and landed his left hand at will.
With everything seemingly on the table in the 12th and final round, Parker went for it, hurting Chisora on several occasions as he finished strong. Still, with the early lead Chisora built, the British product believed he did more than enough to bring home the biggest win of his career. Unfortunately for him, however, the second-half surge of Parker edged him over the finish line via split decision.
Despite another loss plastered to Chisora’s resume and regardless of his age inching towards 40, the long-time veteran isn’t keen on ending his career anytime soon.
“I’m getting upset now,” said Chisora following his defeat. “I bring everything and this is the treatment I get from boxing? I think they don’t like me but you know what? I won’t let them slow me down. No way, I will go again.”
Derek Chisora vs Joseph Parker Official Prediction
By: Oliver McManus
Saturday night sees Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker collide in a heavyweight clash topping a slightly questionable UK pay-per-view card. The twelve rounder, with no title attached, is the result of a heavyweight waiting game involving Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury with additional cameos from Joe Joyce, Oleksandr Usyk and Dillian Whyte.
As a result, we’re left with a disparate array of former champions, old-timers and prospects looking to stay in the mix but with very few viable options to keep them busy. Hence we have Chisora vs Parker.
The fight itself doesn’t exactly set pulses racing, certainly not at £19.95, but it certainly intrigues. Not least because two or three years ago you’d have struggled to make a credible case for Chisora beating Joseph Parker yet, just days away from the fight, it’s hard to confidently assert who will win.
Chisora, against all reasonable logic, has maintained his status as a potential bogeyman: a modern day gatekeeper, if you will. At 37, he’s capable of picking up explosive stoppages against the likes of David Price and Artur Szpilka, thereby retaining his relevance in a depleted division – but has a knack of lackluster against the bigger names.
Sure he did better against Oleksandr Usyk than many expected but it’s hard to say he had the Ukrainian in any real bother: and certainly not consistently.
Joseph Parker, meanwhile, was the feel-good boxer of lockdown thanks to his ingenious social media videos. There wasn’t much to feel good about in his last outing, though, as he laboured to a points win over Junior Fa. The former WBO world champion should have been a class above his former amateur rival – Fa has struggled to make his mark as a professional – but looked sluggish and reluctant to loosen up.
He was a shadow of the man that had Dillian Whyte on the ropes and staring down the barrel of defeat. To his credit, he has linked up with the fantastic Andy Lee and you’d hope that will spark some life back into him.
Who wins? You’d have to say the sensible money is with Parker. If Chisora wins it’ll be a statement on how far diminished the Kiwi has become as opposed to anything else.
Dereck Chisora Expects To Put The “Fear Of God” In Joseph Parker
By: Hans Themistode
Dereck Chisora continues to jump in tough fight after tough fight. The heavyweight contender is scheduled to take on former heavyweight belt holder, Joseph Parker, at the Manchester Arena this coming Saturday night.
The British native is fresh off a closer than expected unanimous decision loss against top contender Oleksandr Usyk. While many were expecting Chisora to be thoroughly outclassed, the 37-year-old pushed the pace and gave Usyk a run for his money.
With the chance to face Parker presented to him, Chisora jumped on the opportunity as soon as possible. Although most are hoping for a back-and-forth slugfest, Chisora believes no one should be holding their breath. In his opinion, the chances of Parker meeting him in the center of the ring to bang it out are slim to none.
“I’m expecting Jospeh to run away,” said Chisora to Matchroom Boxing. “Most people don’t want to fight me because I’m a headache. I know for a fact he’s not going to want to stand there. I’m going to punch him up and take his ear off. The fight is going to be a great fight. We’re going to go crazy.”
For Parker (28-2, 21 KOs), he’ll look to keep the winning train going as he’s currently on a four-fight win streak. In his most recent appearance, Parker easily outworked fringe contender Junior Fa. A win over Chisora is something he believes will officially put a dismal 2018 behind him as he picked up back-to-back defeats at the hands of Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) has no issue with the confidence of Parker, but ultimately, he doesn’t believe it will matter. Like always, the game plan for Chisora is a simple one. He isn’t looking to engage in a boxing match and attempt to slip and counter shots while using pretty feet work. Instead, he merely wants to find the chin of Parker and check it as soon as possible. If Chisora does, he’s firmly under the impression that it’ll be all she wrote for the former champ.
“You know the routine, war. Expect for me to deliver, I chase the guy, beat the guy, pound on the guy and destroy that guy. Just put the fear of God in him”
Dereck Chisora Motivated For Joseph Parker Clash: “I’m Going To Bring War And Pain”
By: Hans Themistode
Normally, Dereck Chisora can be found scowling. This time around, he couldn’t stop smiling.
With news of the heavyweight contender finalizing a deal to take on former WBO belt holder Joseph Parker, Chisora was happy as can be. After witnessing Parker pick up his fourth win in a row against Junior Fa just a few weeks ago, Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) picked up the phone and gave his good buddy a call to begin negotiations.
It may have taken a few days to get in contact with him, but once he did, the ball got rolling immediately after.
“He didn’t want to answer but he answered a couple of days later and we spoke,” said Chisora during an interview with Sky Sports Boxing. “I’m excited.”
Following a close loss at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk on Halloween day last year, Chisora appeared ready to get back out there as soon as possible. While the defeat to Usyk represented the 10th of his career, Chisora accounted himself very well against the former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
Originally, the two were slated to face one another in 2019. However, due to a spider bite, Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) was forced to pull out. Parkers decision to remove himself from their contest didn’t come as a surprise to Chisora as he claimed he saw “fear,” in the eyes of Parker.
Nevertheless, the heavyweight contenders are officially locked in for May 1st. Presently, there is no question in the mind of Chisora that he will pick up the win. That said, he fully realizes that Parker is a legitimate threat and as such, he has enlisted the help of several notable sparring partners.
“He’s got fast hands but I got a new trainer coming in so I’m excited about that. I’ve got all my sparring partners in. Gerald Washington, I was supposed to have Bryant Jennings but he’s boxing (Oscar) Rivas again soon so I’ve got a couple other guys I’m looking at now.”
Despite his normally surly and aloof demeanor, Chisora has grown fond of Parker. The two have been seen on several occasions smiling with one another while enjoying a conversation.
Still, even with Chisora revering his opponent, that won’t stop him from attempting to dish out serious damage to him on May 1st.
“I’m going to take him to the deep end. I’m going to bring war and pain.”
Dereck Chisora on Joseph Parker: “I’ll Beat Him Up Anytime”
By: Hans Themistode
Dereck Chisora wasn’t particularly amused when he flipped on his television roughly two weeks ago.
The former heavyweight title challenger watched as Junior Fa and former WBO belt holder Joseph Parker threw punches lethargically at one another across his screen.
In no time at all, Chisora found himself uninterested in their contest which took place at the Spark Arena in Auckland New Zealand.
Despite his boredom, Chisora watched every second of their 12 round fight. Shortly after the final bell, he offered an explanation as to why their contest turned out to be more or less a dud.
“The fight was not great,” said Chisora during an interview with IFL TV. “They didn’t spar a lot, they were not in shape those guys, they did not train hard enough. There was no fear factor for both of them.”
Regardless of the lack of action, Chisora was incredulous when the final scorecards were read. Judge Paul Fitzsimmons may have scored their bout closely in favor of Parker 115-113, but the following two judges scored things much wider as Andrew Bell had it 117-111 and John Conway’s card read 119-109 all in favor of Parker.
By all accounts, Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) believes that the right man won. But the wideness of the scorecards made him question the judge’s sanity.
“Boxing is becoming unbelievably great but the judging is becoming disgraceful. I think the boxing federation needs to figure out how they’re going to get new fresh eyes because half of these guys wear glasses, they can’t see nothing man.”
Immediately after Parker was handed the victory, Chisora wasted no time in calling him out. In fact, the British native recorded himself giving Parker a call and urged him to make a fight with him happen.
Originally, the pair were scheduled to meet in 2019 but due to a spider bite, Parker was forced to pull out. With that entire ordeal behind them and with Parker picking up his fourth straight win, Chisora revealed that they are currently in the midst of rekindling their matchup and could be on their way to making it a reality.
“If we can get Joseph Parker in the next couple months we would be happy with that. Right now we’re in talks for the fight to be in London. I’ll beat him up anytime.”
For Chisora, a big win is needed at this point in his career. On Halloween night just a few months ago, he was within a few points of taking home what would’ve been categorized as the most important victory of his elongated career as he took on former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
The loss may have set him back but according to Chisora, a win over Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) will point him back on track.
In terms of how their showdown would play out, Chisora isn’t interested in predicting the future. With that said, he is confident that he’ll pick up the victory. So much so, that he is already playing matchmaker for his next contest after Parker.
“After that fight, maybe if Tyson Fury and AJ (Anthony Joshua) don’t really happen I jump in there with Tyson Fury.”
Joseph Parker Makes It Four In A Row With Unanimous Decision Win Over Junior Fa
By: Hans Themistode
The back-to-back losses Joseph Parker picked up in 2018 are now a thing of the past as he scored a fairly easy win over fringe contender Junior Fa.
The all New Zealand showdown took place at the Spark Arena, in Auckland New Zealand.
With a potential loss pushing him all the way down the heavyweight ladder, Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) came out strong in the opening bell. The former WBO belt holder easily outboxed his man for the vast majority of the first three minutes. He managed to lose a bit of concentration during the waning seconds though as he was wobbled.
No ill effects were noticed in the following round as Parker went right back to work. He was tagging his man with lefts and rights and seldom had to worry about any return fire.
Although Fa was thoroughly outboxed, he managed to take the shots well. That is, until he was hit with an overhand right in the fourth. Parker couldn’t take complete advantage of the big shot as Fa began letting his hands go in an attempt to keep the former titlist away from him.
Realizing that there was no way he could outbox his opponent, Fa (19-1, 10 KOs) began turning things ugly. He worked the body and stayed on the inside. Parker did have his moments of success, but for the most part, Fa had him exactly where he wanted him.
Growing tired of the clinch work, Parker landed a big shot on Fa as he attempted to work his way inside. He appeared to be in a bit of trouble but not enough for Parker to finish him off.
Over the past few years, Parker has received criticism for what many believe is a lack of a killer instinct. The championship rounds proved to be much of the same as both he and Fa held and grabbed each other until the final bell rang.
In the end, while Fa fought hard, all three judges scoring the contest didn’t view him as the winner. The final scorecards were as followed: 115-113, 117-111 and 119-109 all in favor of Parker.
With his fourth win in a row, Parker could be headed towards a showdown against Dereck Chisora later on this year. The British native lost his most recent contest against Oleksandr Usyk but fought well. Both Parker and Chisora were originally scheduled to face off in 2019 but Parker fell ill and their contest fell by the wayside.
Now, with his fourth win in a row and both sides chirping back and forth over the past several months, promoter Eddie Hearn expressed a real interest in making their showdown a reality for a date to be revealed later this year.
Dillian Whyte vs. Joseph Parker Preview
On Saturday night, London’s O2 arena will once again hold host to a Dillian Whyte headline bout as the WBC’s number 1 challenger takes on former WBO heavyweight champion, Joseph Parker for the status of, ‘Best of the Rest’ and a future shot at the true heavyweight honours.
Whyte, 23-1 (17KOs) is fighting at the O2 for the 5th time in his career and the 3rd time as one half of the headline fight. Last time out, Dillian took just 6 rounds to KO the previously unbeaten, Lucas Browne of Australia in impressive fashion. Dominating from the first bell, Whyte seemed to know within the first few minutes that Browne had come to survive. The ‘Body Snatcher’ held his punches a lot better than in previous bouts and, in stark contrast to his awkward encounter with Robert Helenius in 2017, the Jamaican-born heavyweight timed his attacks well, and didn’t throw desperately, when Browne occasionally avoided his assaults. It all culminated in an evil left hook, arguably the best punch Whyte has thrown in his pro career, landing on the Australian’s wide-open chin, sending him face down and conclusively ending the fight.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
That March matchup came a week before Parker took on Joshua at the Principality stadium in Cardiff, and winning that bout appeared to put Whyte to the front of the heavyweight line waiting for a shot at the belts. Saturday’s fight won’t be for world championship honours, but Dillian, speaking to ‘Give Me Sport’ recognises how close he is to the shot he’s been working for, for so long,
‘‘Anyone that’s successful in life, whoever and wherever they are, have had to take a lot of risks and chances…That’s why I signed with Matchroom. That was a risk because I knew they had Joshua, and Joshua’s the golden boy.’’
And the challenge of facing the former WBO champion,
‘‘I’ve fought everyone that’s been asked of me to fight. I feel good…If he (Parker) didn’t come to fight against Joshua, the biggest fight of his career, what’s he going to change now? He could have come back and had an easier fight, but he didn’t. I respect him for that.’’
‘‘Who knows. They might surprise us, and he might come out and go for it in the first couple of rounds…I don’t expect Parker to try and come and mix it with me in the centre of the ring, because if he does that, he gets dropped early.’’
Saturday’s bout will mark Parker’s return to the ring since losing a 12-round decision to Anthony Joshua; a loss that took his ‘0’ and his WBO world strap.
‘‘The body’s looking better than last fight,’’ Said the Samoan-born boxer, speaking to ‘RadioSport’ in New Zealand. ‘‘It’s stronger than last fight. I feel I do need a stoppage. There might be a bit of favouritism here for the local fighter. We’ve given our thoughts on the officials.’’
‘‘When you have two fighters like myself and Dillian Whyte going at it I think it probably won’t reach the 12th round…His fight plan is just to stand there and throw bombs and he wants me to get sucked in to his plan.’’
‘‘I think this is a must win. The winner of this fight elevates to the top for a world title fight with Joshua, maybe Wilder and then all of these fights with Tyson Fury and the big names.’’
This will be Parker’s, 24-1 (18KOs), 3rd fight in a row in England, after also defending his belt in a drab of a scrap against Hughie Fury last September, in which the New Zealander won via a split decision. The talk is big from Joseph in the build up to the weekend’s main event, but he’s struggled to really impress since his 3-round KO of Alexander Dimitrenko back in late 2016.
As has been mentioned multiple times about this matchup, the winner should maneuverer there way into a world title fight next. The WBC ‘Silver’ and WBO ‘International’ straps aren’t just there for decoration alone. They might be meaningless when they’re wrapped around the winner for post-fight photos, but the belts signify an elevated status in the rankings and if the victor’s follow up bout to Saturday night isn’t a world championship bout, they’ll have a pretty big target on their back with the best of the rest of the division ready to shoot.
All of New Zealand Behind Joseph Parker’s Title Bid
All of New Zealand Behind Joseph Parker’s Title Bid
By: Eric Lunger
Undefeated heavyweight Joseph Parker (21-0, 18 KOs) of New Zealand is stepping into the ring on December 10th for his first world title shot, and he carries the hopes of his island nation with him. This is a heavy burden for a young fighter, but Parker is New Zealand’s son, and New Zealand’s Olympic silver medalist, Kevin Barry, has been working for years to bring Joseph to this clash with Mexican-American Andy Ruiz, Jr., (29-0, 19 KOs) for the WBO World title.
While Parker, 24, may not be very well known to American boxing fans, he is, according to Barry, the second most recognized person in New Zealand, after the prime minister. “Joe is so respected and so well liked” in his home country because he is such a humble and approachable young man. The sporting public has “practically watched him grow up,” Barry told me, from a kid who could barely put a sentence together, to some one who is articulate and confident in press conferences. And, indeed, in front of a microphone and a battery of reporters, Parker is thoughtful, forthright, but quietly confident.
Barry had a long-term path for Parker: “we set a goal four years ago to make him New Zealand’s fighter, and then take him as far as possible [on the world stage].” Taking him on media tours the length of both islands, Barry had Parker fight in every major city in the country. “New Zealanders have always had a close bond with their fighters,” said Barry, pointing out that David Tua’s unsuccessful bid against Lennox Lewis in November of 2000 was the most viewed TV event in New Zealand history. Since Tua’s 12 round unanimous decision loss, Parker is the first New Zealand heavyweight to battle for a world title belt.
While Parker fully embraces his New Zealand identity, his Samoan background makes him enormously popular there as well. “The entire island [of Samoa] comes to a halt when Joe is on TV” said Barry, with the Samoan Prime Minister often flying to New Zealand to support Parker in person at his bouts. The Samoan government has also made a six-figure contribution to promoting the bout, according to New Zealand media outlets, in return for tourism adverts during the bout. To say that Joseph Parker carries some serious expectations on his shoulders is like saying that Luciano Pavarotti was pretty good at singing.
But Parker has the talent to match those expectations. When you see him in the ring, the first thing you notice is that he moves easily and lightly, but very quickly you notice the second thing: elite level hand speed. In his last outing, against a game but over-matched Alexander Dimitrenko (38-2), the Ukrainian-born German fighter could not cope with the speed of Parker’s punches and combinations. “I think Joe has got the fastest hands in the division, said Barry, “he can get off first, throw combinations, and it’s the punch you don’t see coming that does the damage.” Parker is an exciting fighter to watch, and one with elite level skills. Sure, he is relatively young and just on the cusp of reaching a world stage and a world audience. But the Ruiz fight is a perfect opportunity, and no one in Parker’s camp is taking the undefeated Ruiz lightly.
Barry also sees it as a fan friendly fight. “I think that Joe vs. Andy could be the most exciting heavyweight fight of the year,” said Barry. Both guys “come forward, both are aggressive; expect to see some real action in the middle of the ring.” The two are set to clash in the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest venue with some 12,000 seats. Tickets went on sale yesterday and the pace of sales has been blistering. “They are going to raise the roof in that building,” says Parker’s trainer, when New Zealand’s favorite son takes his first shot at a world title. If you are a boxing fan, if you are a heavyweight fan, don’t miss it.