By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker will attempt to end a disappointing 2018 on a positive note.
Parker revealed Wednesday that he’ll return to the ring December 15 in his native New Zealand. The former WBO heavyweight champion’s opponent hasn’t been chosen, but Parker’s next fight will take place at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The 26-year-old Parker (24-2, 18 KOs) will try to bounce back that night from back-to-back defeats to unbeaten IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua and contender Dillian Whyte.
England’s Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) out-boxed Parker in their 12-round title unification fight to win a unanimous decision March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Parker took another challenging fight right away, but suffered the first two knockdowns of his career versus Whyte (24-1, 17 KOs), who survived serious trouble in the 12th round to win a unanimous decision July 28 at O2 Arena in London.
“Whoever they put in front of me, I need to get the job done, and get it done well,” Parker told the New Zealand Herald. “Having experienced what it is like to reach the pinnacle of the sport, and then come back down again after a couple of tough defeats, I’m more motivated than ever to get back on top.”
Parker has spent the past two months lamenting lost opportunities against Joshua and Whyte. He knocked down Whyte in the 12th round, yet couldn’t finish off the Jamaican-born, London-based Whyte.
It is now Whyte who’s in line for a rematch with Joshua, perhaps as soon as April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London.
“I could have and should have won that fight, but that’s boxing,” Parker said. “It’s now time to get back to work. I can’t wait to fight again in Christchurch. I’ve got really good memories from my last time there. It’s a great homecoming for me.”
The last time Parker appeared in Christchurch, he stopped Solomon Haumono in the fourth round of their July 2016 bout. Five of his six fights since that stoppage have gone all 12 rounds, including five straight against Andy Ruiz, Razvan Cojanu, Hughie Fury, Joshua and Whyte.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.