By Keith Idec
Dillian Whyte watched Joseph Parker lose to Anthony Joshua from a ringside seat March 31.
There were times, according to Whyte, when Parker succeeded against the hard-hitting Joshua.
Ultimately, however, Whyte feels Parker moved too much to have a chance to upset Joshua in their heavyweight title unification fight.
London’s Whyte hopes Parker is more willing to engage when they meet July 28 at O2 Arena in London.
“I’m here to fight and I want to fight, and I want to give the fans nights to remember,” Whyte told Sky Sports following a press conference in London. “This is one of them. This is a great fight. Joseph Parker will be hungry, will be motivated, and I just hope that he leaves his running shoes at home on July 28 and comes to fight.”
New Zealand’s Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) lost a unanimous decision and his WBO title to Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) when they met 2½ months ago at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. He is the only opponent to take Joshua the distance since the British superstar turned pro in October 2013.
Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) could’ve fought Luis Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs, 2 NC) or Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) in elimination matches to earn respective shots at WBC champ Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) or Joshua. Whyte’s lone loss is a seventh-round technical knockout defeat to Joshua in December 2015 at O2 Arena.
The Jamaican-born contender instead decided to oppose Parker in what will be a challenging fight next month at the same arena where he knocked Lucas Browne unconscious in the sixth round March 24. Whyte applauded Parker for embracing a tough fight following his loss to Joshua.
“Yeah, massive respect to him,” Whyte said. “He put up a decent performance last time. He had his moments in the fight with Joshua. He could have come back with a couple of easy fights and eke his way back in. But he came back in, wants a big challenge, and he’s stepping in with me.
“But I believe it’s a big mistake, him doing that. I’m sure he believes different. I’m sure they have seen something in me that they think they can beat. Like I always say, everyone else thinks they can do this and that, and when they get in there, they realize, ‘This dude is way better than what we think he is.’ ”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.