Joseph Parker and Junior Fa may have split four fights as amateurs, but Parker says you can throw that history out of the window when the pair finally meets in the pros on Saturday night.
Parker (27-2) and Fa (19-0) will lock horns in the biggest fight in New Zealand for a number of years. Their bout at Spark Arena will air live on pay-per-view locally (NZD $49.99) with DAZN screening it in the UK and the United States.
For Joseph, it is a chance to get his name back into the discussion for another world-title shot. The former WBO king lost his belt to Anthony Joshua via unanimous division in Cardiff in 2018.
Parker – currently ranked #3 by the WBO, is keen to “make a statement” on Saturday night, and says we can forget those amateur meetings between him and Fa.
“Junior’s a tough fighter. I’ve known this from our amateur days and I always knew our paths would cross again. He’s undefeated and poses a real threat to my hopes of becoming a two-time heavyweight world champion.
“But I’ve been up against the best and I’ve performed on the big occasions, and these experiences will put me in a great position to overcome Junior and take the next step towards winning another world title.
Parker vs Fa amateur rivalry
“Junior is getting a lot of confidence from the amateur days but I’m a totally different animal now. We’re going to see the best Junior Fa. He brings height, reach and an undefeated record.
“If I lose this fight, it’s a long way back to the top. I’m not putting extra pressure on myself, but I know the magnitude of this fight. If I let my hands go in there, it will do a lot of damage, I want to get him out of there.
Parker vs Fa had initially been scheduled for December last year, but had to be delayed due to a Fa injury. Parker says the extra time to prepare has helped him too.
“I know Junior pulled out of the fight last year with health issues, but I’m feeling way better myself as well, the extra time allowed me to have minor surgery on my elbow which has cleared up a niggling injury. ”
After just turning 29 in January, Parker is still relatively young in professional heavyweight terms, and he is keen to once again reach the top of the mountain. He knows Saturday night is a massive step on that journey.
Parker still hungry
“I’m still young and hungry. There’s plenty of goals to achieve still. I want to be champion of the world again; I want to provide my family with a comfortable life. To achieve both of those objectives, I need to beat Junior.
“The division is on fire at the minute, it would be great to see the Undisputed fight with ‘AJ’ and Fury but make no mistake, I want another shot. I’m not shy about jumping in with anyone, but I can’t overlook Junior first of all, I want to make a statement at Spark Arena.”