Joseph Parker has a point to prove.
The 26-year-old Samoan-New Zealander is a man without a world title after losing his WBO heavyweight belt, in March, to the divisional number one Anthony Joshua.
The fight, in front of 80,000 people at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, was Parker’s second in the UK, after beating Hughie Fury, and his opportunity to claim the throne that Joshua has sat upon since his memorable win against Wladimir Klitschko.
However, while Joshua vs. Klitschko will be talked about in the years to come, Joshua vs. Parker, sadly, will not.
Parker was never in any real danger of becoming the 21st knockout victim of Joshua’s. The cautiousness of the Brit fended off Parker’s aggression which didn’t quite go to plan. In the end, Joshua ran out a comfortable points winner. It was a night where the event will be remembered more than the fight itself.
Now, for what will be his third consecutive fight in the UK, this time against Dillian Whyte on July 28 at London’s O2 Arena, Parker is ready to become more “mongrel” and show boxing fans what he wishes they could have seen back in March.
Win In Incredible Fashion
Speaking to GiveMeSport ahead of the pay-per-view showdown, Parker said: “I want to get back on the horse and get the win, but I want to make a statement. So, I want to combine those two. Make a statement and get the win in incredible fashion.
“It excites me that I’ll be fighting someone who is going to be a lot more aggressive (than Joshua) and come forward. A fight like that creates opportunities.
"But also, it will change the way I fight as well. If he’s looking at how I fought in the last fight and he’s training for that it’s going to be totally different. When it’s time to brawl, we’ll stand there and brawl. When it’s time to move and box we’ll move and box. It’ll be exciting to see how it unfolds.
“The British fans have seen me twice now, but they haven’t seen the best of me yet. In this fight, I can prove a point where I get a good win, in good fashion, hopefully, knock him out and it shows me, and the team belong at the top. It shows we deserve another shot at the title. There’s a point to prove for our team and I want to make it happen.”
Both Whyte and Parker will be putting a lot on the line come the night of July 28. Whyte, who lost to Joshua in their 2015 grudge match, has rebuilt himself both in the ring and out of it.
His seven-fight winning streak since that loss has taken him to number one in the WBC rankings where Deontay Wilder stands as champion, while Parker has a respectable top ten position with three of the four governing bodies.
A loss for either man, while not career threatening, would delay any hopes of a world title opportunity for a considerable time. Both men should be applauded for taking the fight, and Parker agreed that fighters are willing to take more risks nowadays.
“There are fighters out there who put it all on the line and don’t care who they fight, and there are other fighters who pick and choose who they fight and when they fight,” he said.
“I think it’s important that everyone at the top level fights each other because that’s the only way we’ll see who is the best. Like I said before, boxing is one of those things where everyone wants to be champion of the world, but you’ve got to fight the best to be the best.”
Parker keeps a close eye on his rivals and heard about Whyte when the Jamaican-born Londoner began to make some noise, particularly when he fell short against Joshua. And while the two have never been linked to fighting one another, when the offer was made both fighters didn’t hesitate to sign up for a scrap which looks set to sell-out the O2 Arena.
Given the magnitude of Parker’s fight against Joshua, and suffering his first loss in the process, it was vital to he and his team that they bounced back with something meaningful and something they could get their teeth into.
“We want to be champion again. What’s the point of mucking around with fights you know you can win,” said Parker who, at one stage, looked like he would be fighting American Bryant Jennings in the second half of the year.
“I think it’s important to go after the fights that bring out the best in you, and the fights you think will challenge you,” he added. “And our team all agreed with this fight. We all thought what’s the point in fighting easy fights. Let’s get straight back on the horse again and go for it.”
Cardiff was a learning experience for Parker that ended in ifs, buts and maybes. More aggression, more mongrel, more punches and who knows what might have happened.
The Kevin Barry-trained heavyweight wants another crack at Joshua, but that’s a fight that will have to take place within the next five years, a time frame that the Samoan has given himself to “go hard” at boxing. After that, his mind lies elsewhere.
The thirst to constantly learn is a must for Parker in the life he sees after boxing, which includes the possibility of becoming a promoter or even a pilot!
“I always thought it was pretty cool when I went for a ride in helicopters. For me, it’s important to learn about many different things. Add to your knowledge.
"I want to become a pilot, but I’ve got other things I’d like to do. I was interested in carpentry. I had a scholarship back in school. I like architecture, there are so many things, I haven’t really decided yet.
“Or I could set up a promotional company to help promote boxers or athletes, or talent from around the world, so there are many options on the table but it’s just about securing myself first so then I can help others later.”