Zhang and Parker talking the talk ahead of a popcorn-worthy heavyweight blockbuster

Joseph Parker vs Zhilei Zhang should be an absolute barnstormer of a heavwyeight boxing fight in Riyadh on Friday night – and both men are certainly talking the talk ahead of fight night.

Their paths crossed again on Wednesday at the official pre-fight press conference, with only Thursday’s weigh-in now standing between them and a night of destiny in the Saudi desert.

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Both heavyweights come into this bout apparently at their peak of their powers – both listed in the top five of most heavyweight ranking lists.

Parker (34-3) stunned the mighty Deontay Wilder back in December, to wreck a massive planned Anthony Joshua v Wilder showdown. Zhang (26-1-1) meanwhile is coming off brilliant back-to-back demolition jobs on the fearsome Joe Joyce.

Zhang on Parker

Zhang comes into the bout with much on the line – he is currently the mandatory contender for the WBO world heavyweight title held by the great Oleksandr Usyk. That vaunted position is on the line on Friday night.

He said: “By sitting here I am getting the recognition I deserve, everybody saw what I did to Joe Joyce, back to back. Joseph Parker is a helluva fighter, he is young, hungry and here for the belt. I am the tiger here, I am here to hunt and, if you want to take the food out of my mouth, you are going to pay the price.”

Zhilei Zhang Press Conference vs Joseph Parker Heavyweight Boxing Riyadh Saudi Arabia
Chinese heavyweight boxer Zhilei Zhang speaks at the press conference ahead of his fight vs Joseph Parker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 8, 2024 (Photo – Round n Bout Media/Queensberry Promotions).

Parker, just like he was against Wilder, will be the underdog on Friday night. But he is far from daunted by facing a giant of a man who will likely outweigh him by 50lbs on fight night.

Parker on Zhang

“Zhang says he wants to bang me. I want to say to Zhang, ‘I want to bang you’. Zhang did an excellent job in beating Joe Joyce twice and I am a totally different fighter now to when I fought Joe Joyce, physically and mentally. I am up for the challenge, I am always up for the challenge.

“He is the favourite going into this fight, but I will show you what I can do come fight night. I have a great team that I fully trust and believe in. When everything is going good in camp, you feel great and you are seeing results, I feel dangerous, I really do. Zhang is going to feel that danger. I am going to go in there and bang him!”