The biggest fight on the New Zealand boxing calendar is officially one sleep away.
Joseph Parker and Junior Fa are set to collide in their highly anticipated heavyweight showdown, which takes place Saturday evening at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Both boxers took the fight seriously, offering trimmer and fitter physiques than was the case in their previous respective outings.
South Auckland’s Parker (27-2, 21KOs)—who trains out of Las Vegas—tipped the scale at 240.1 pounds, more than five pounds lighter than he was for a 5th round knockout of Shawndell Winters last February in Frisco, Texas. The weight is Parker’s lightest since his 12-round loss to Anthony Joshua in their March 2018 unification bout between unbeaten heavyweight titlists in Cardiff, Wales.
Fa (19-0, 10KOs) checked in at 260.4 pounds. The 31-year old, 6”5” heavyweight from Otahuhu, New Zealand was a fleshy 267 ½ pounds in a 10-round decision win over Devin Vargas in his most recent start, which took place in Nov. 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Both heavyweights fight at home since sharing the same Dec. 2018 card in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Parker scored a 3rd round knockout of overmatched Alexander Flores in the evening’s main event. The feat ended a two-fight skid after having dropped 12-round decisions to Joshua and to Dillian Whyte, both taking place in the United Kingdom.
Fa had an easier night at the office, needing just 86 seconds to rid himself of Rogelio Omar Rossi in the evening’s chief support.
Prior to the Joshua defeat, Parker made two successful defenses of the WBO heavyweight title he claimed in Dec. 2016, The career-best achievement came via 12-round majority decision over Andy Ruiz back when both were unbeaten contenders heading into their vacant title fight. Following back-to-back losses, Parker enters Saturday’s bout riding a three-fight win streak though all coming versus made-to-order opposition.
Still, a win on Saturday leaves the 29-year old in the hunt for a future shot at the WBO belt or at least a crack at the interim title once Joe Joyce and Oleksandr Usyk come to terms for such a fight.
The bout tops a seven-fight bill (plus a Corporate Boxing Series non-sanctioned fight), which will air on DAZN in the United States and most other markets around the world excluding Australia—who hosts the show via Main Event—and New Zealand, which will carry the card on Spark Sports.
Joseph Parker (27-2, 21KOs), South Auckland, New Zealand, 240.1 pounds vs. Junior Fa (19-0, 10KOs), Otahuhu, New Zealand, 260.4 pounds—12 rounds, heavyweight
Hemi Ahio (16-0, 11KOs), Auckland, New Zealand, 230.6 pounds vs. Julius Long (18-24-1, 14KOs), Auckland, New Zealand by way of Romulus, Michigan, 326 ¾ pounds—6 rounds, heavyweight
David Nyeka (pro debut), Hamilton, New Zealand, 199.3 pounds vs. Jessie Maio (3-0, 1KO), Auckland, New Zealand, 188.9 pounds—4 rounds, cruiserweight
Nikolas Charalampous (19-3, 9KOs), Auckland, New Zealand, 198.9 pounds vs. Panuve Helu (12-2-1, 11KOs), Auckland, New Zealand, 197.1 pounds—6 rounds, cruiserweight
Jerome Pampellone (2-0, 1KO), Auckland, New Zealand, 180.1 pounds vs. Antz Amouta (pro debut), Tokoroa, New Zealand, 190.7 pounds—4 rounds, cruiserweight
Richie Hadlow (2-0, 1KO), Auckland, New Zealand, 138.5 pounds vs. Obedi Maguchi (2-3, 1KOs), West Auckland, New Zealand [WEIGHT T/K]—4 rounds, junior welterweight
John Parker (5-0, 2KOs), Auckland, New Zealand, 174.6 pounds vs. Egelani Taito (pro debut), Wanganui, New Zealand, 174.6 pounds—4 rounds, light heavyweight
Phil Telea 330 ¾ vs. Niro Iuta 328 ¼ pounds—3 rounds, super heavyweight (Corporate Boxing series)
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox