Joseph Parker has had one taste of world-title glory and he is desperate for another as he prepares to start a new chapter in his career on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old New Zealander (28-2) meets Dereck Chisora (32-10) in a pay-per-view showdown at the AO Arena in Manchester. And he is ready to wow the audience on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN worldwide.
It will be the first time Parker has fought since splitting with long-time trainer Kevin Barry. Replacing Barry is Kronk disciple Andy Lee, who also helped to mastermind Tyson Fury’s destruction of Deontay Wilder last year.
Parker began camp with Lee in Ireland and then moved over to Fury’s home town of Morecambe, Lancashire to complete his preparation. And he is convinced he is in better shape than ever coming off an underwhelming display in the win over Junior Fa in February.
Joseph Parker in a great place
“I’m very prepared for this fight, I’ve had a great training camp with Andy in Ireland, then we moved over to Morecambe and got some great sparring under our belt, great pad work, bag, everything,” said Parker.
“I feel like with this fight, physically and mentally, I’m in a great place – probably the best I’ve been in a while.
“You will see some good changes. I’ll be sharper, with better movement and better footwork. I’ll be focused for the whole fight. If I execute the game-plan that Andy has put in place, it should be a good night for Team Parker. I expect Dereck to be Dereck – to apply pressure from the beginning, throwing punches and bombs.”
Parker struggled to really get into top gear against Fa in a fight which went the distance. He expects a very different test against seasoned warhorse Chisora.
He explained: “Two totally different styles, Junior Fa’s style was move and hug, punch every now and then. With Derek it’s no secret, he’s going to come forward and apply the pressure, throw punches everywhere. My hands are going to have to be up, down and all around.
Right fight, right time
“I think this is the perfect fight at the right time. We’re right there, get a good victory and there’s many other great fights out there to be made and to position yourself when the titles are free to fight for. This is a big card, not only the main event but the undercard fights are very exciting, I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
Parker won the WBO world heavyweight title back in 2016 by outpointing Andy Ruiz Jr. He held that belt until 2018 when he suffered his first career defeat at the hands of Anthony Joshua in Cardiff. That short reign only whetted Joseph’s appetite for more.
“I’ve been a World Champion before and I want to be World champion again. In order to achieve that goal I have to get Derek out of the way first. Then set up the other fights that are out there. We’ve done everything we can to prepare for whatever he brings.”