Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker is not taking any chances in his upcoming clash with undefeated New Zealand rival Junior Fa. (photo by photosport)
The two boxers will collide, with a lot on the line, on December 11 in Auckland.
After suffering back to back defeats to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, Parker has been able to reclaim a top spot in the WBO rankings - at number three. And Fa is sitting at number six in the WBO's ranks.
The two rivals met four times in the amateur ranks, with each boxer securing two wins.
Their collision in the pro ranks will be the tiebreaker.
Should Fa win the bout, Parker's career will be in shambles.
“I think this fight is pretty much make or break for me,” Parker told Stuff.
“People are saying there’s a lot of pressure and big risk, and they are right. I’ve had two losses and if I lose another one it will be very hard to climb back to the top. People will be saying, ‘why is he fighting, he has already had his time’.
“If Junior Fa loses, he can come back having just had one loss to a former champion. So there is a lot of risk from our side but in saying that I love pressure and I love the risk factor of boxing. There was no point sitting back waiting a year or even two years to get a big fight. I said to David (Higgins, manager) and Kevin (Barry, trainer) I’m hungry for a fight, I don’t care who it is. So everyone was on board and finally we’ve made it happen.”
While Parker is widely viewed as a big favorite to win the fight, he won't be overlooking Fa in any way.
“Even though my record shows my opponents have been a better class, you can’t take anything lightly. It’s the heavyweight game, anything can happen. Look at Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin recently. Povetkin was getting owned and then one punch took Dillian apart,” Parker said.