Joseph Parker eyes next bout: ‘I will fight anyone’

By rnz.co.nz and is republished with permission

Joseph Parker does not care who, he just wants to know when.

The Samoan/Kiwi heavyweight (35-3), is riding an impressive five-fight winning streak and is eager to get back in the ring and extend it.

“I will fight anyone, and I’ll call out anyone.”

However, Parker is yet to lock down his next bout.

“I was told I could be fighting in September, but the last event happened in Saudi Arabia changed the whole landscape of what’s next so now hopefully in October. I’m training hard for that and once we get an opponent, we can design plan to taper to whoever we’re fighting.”

Despite largely dominating the first bout, Parker said a rematch with Zhilei Zhang is still on the cards.

“The rematch is there, it just depends on what Saudi Arabia wants but the rematch is what I’m contracted to fight next.”

He will also be keeping a close eye on Fury vs Usyk 2 in October.

“I would like the opportunity to fight any of those top guys, as I keep winning, sooner or later, they’re going to give me that chance.”

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 08: Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker exchange punches during the WBO Interim World Heavyweight title fight between Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker on the Knockout Chaos boxing card at the Kingdom Arena on March 08, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker exchange punches during the WBO Interim World Heavyweight title fight between Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker on the Knockout Chaos boxing card at the Kingdom Arena on March 08, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Getty Images / Richard Pelham

The 32-year-old believes Saudi Arabia has helped resurrect the sport.

“My last three fights have been in Saudi Arabia. I feel like Saudi Arabia are investing money into sports in general. You got golf, tennis, you got football, soccer, boxing and UFC. And so at the moment, a lot of the fights are in Saudi Arabia. They’re starting to expand around the world now. So I’m sure they’re looking at expanding and going all around the world.”

He said boxing was falling behind its combat sports competition such as mixed martial arts.

“If it wasn’t for Saudi Arabia, boxing would have went down more, but they’ve been able to jump in at a time where we needed them and they’re putting on these big fights people never thought would happen. Now boxing’s getting the attention back and now we’re not really in a competition, boxing is just doing its own thing.”

As well as a perpetual title contender, Parker has been making headlines of late due to his creative callouts of fighters on social media.

His first, a parody of Take That’s ‘I Want You Back’ aimed at British boxer Dillian Whyte, and then a rendition of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Lego House’ to get the attention of Anthony Joshua.

“Dillian and I have a sort of up and down relationship, where he’s sometimes nice, sometimes he’s a prick. I felt it was a great way to promote that fight, if it could eventuate but it never really happened. And the Joshua fight, we did another video and nothing happened.

“So I think we’ll a put a hold on those videos, focus on the training and lock something in soon. But if anyone has an idea for a video, we’re more than happy to do one. It’s a bit of fun and a nice thing to do outside of training.”

Parker also weighed in on the rise of influencer boxing, condemning the cancelled fight between Mike Tyson and Jake Paul.

“It can hurt the sport if they’re putting on Mike Tyson and Jake Paul. Mike Tyson, way passed his prime. He’s a legend in the sport. But there comes a time where you just got to give it up and do something else in your life, fights like that would damage your sport, but there’s always going to be eyes on the sport when you have these influencers, they bring different crowds and different audience, or hopefully they could just make the fights more 50:50.”

But would Parker ever entertain a fight with the YouTube sensation?

“Jake Paul is too small. He’s improving, but there’s a difference between someone who’s just starting boxing, and someone’s been boxing for a long time, but he is getting better.”

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