When it was announced last month that Joseph Parker would meet Dillian Whyte in his first fight since surrendering his WBO heavyweight championship to Anthony Joshua, there was a fair degree of surprise amongst boxing pundits.
Many had expected Parker to take a "homecoming" bout in his native New Zealand on his return to the ring, but the man himself seems to have little time for that line of thought.
Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) told Sky Sports that he had no hesitation in agreeing to face Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) at London's 02 Arena on July 28 - insisting that he wants to take the most direct path possible back to world honours.
"I lost the world title, we are still hungry," said the 26-year-old.
"Our team really want to be champion again so there’s no point in mucking around with fights that are easy...The main person to look at this and overlook and see if it’s the right fight is [trainer] Kevin [Barry] and our matchmaker and I’m happy with it as well, so when the whole team is happy, it’s time for us to get it on."
Parker did concede that Whyte carries the power to pose him significant problems.
However, as the only man to have taken Anthony Joshua the distance in his professional career, Parker is confident that he is up to the challenge - and can thrive under the pressure.
"Every heavyweight possesses power, but off Dillian's record, you can see he’s got a lot of knockouts so you know he possesses the power to knock you out if he catches you...The challenge of fighting someone who is highly ranked and the power that he brings, and the style he brings, that’s going to bring the best out of us."
The reality of Joseph Parker's situation is that - save for a rematch with Joshua or a shot at Deontay Wilder - Dillian Whyte represents the biggest fight he could possibly have taken.
Parker realises that Joshua and Wilder are far more likely to face each other than to face him early next year, but is still keen to see the pair face off.
"I think it should happen, not only for boxing, but for the fans out there.
"Everyone wants to see that fight and everyone wants to see who the best in the world is. If the fight did happen, Wilder has got that big right hand, but boxing is one of those things where anything can happen and anything can change just like that."
Although he may have to be patient before he receives a championship opportunity, by headlining a major UK pay-per-view event opposite Whyte, Parker is ensuring that he maintains a high profile in what has become a crowded heavyweight division.
Of course, in order for the gamble to truly pay off, he must defeat Whyte in the ring later this month.
However, for a fighter who has historically struggled to sell vast numbers of tickets in his homeland, the trip to London is probably worth the risk.
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