THE TALKING IS now over and Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker are fast closing in on a huge heavyweight collision for the WBO Interim world championship at the AO Arena, Manchester on Saturday night, live on BT Sport Box Office.
Weights: Joe Joyce 271.4 vs Joseph Parker 255.25
Amanda Serrano 124.5 vs Sarah Mahfoud 124.6
Ekow Essuman 146.25 vs Samuel Antwi 145.6
Michael Magnesi 129 vs Anthony Cacace 129.5
Nathan Heaney 160 vs Jack Flatley 159.1
“You have been in the sport a long time – a seasoned vet. He is seeing a psychologist so maybe there is some weakness in his mental capabilities that he needs to work on, I would imagine. I don’t believe there will be an easy night against me and he will find out with real time punches to his head, body and all over. He sees me as a lump and this big lump will be coming at him on Saturday night.
“I’ve had a really great camp with my team and Salas over there has been sending me little clips of what I need to work on in the fight. We are well prepared and have done all the biomechanics and polishing up of all my skills. It was really great to have that last fight against Hammer to show that I can take three or four right hands coming forward. I am in the better place and will improve on all the things I need to in this fight. I feel I am in the best place and what a great opponent in Joseph Parker. I just want to get the gloves on and fight him after this little talking session.”
“I don’t really care what he thinks or what his opinion is on my power or how I fight. He’ll get a taste of it on Saturday night. I’ve done the work and I back everything that Andy says. We’ve been in the gym every day grinding away with Tyson joining our runs and training, cheering us on with positive vibes. Everything has been ticked off in this camp so there are no excuses and no doubts. I will go in there and win, and win well. Joe Joyce has one style, I don’t see any adjustments or any change. I t just depends on how I show up.
“I see a lump when I look at him, a big man, a man who is confident and ready. And is going to be stopped in his tracks. I truly believe that and I am very confident going into this fight. Hype train.”
George Warren (CEO, Queensberry)
“I think we are all just happy to get this fight on. Credit to both guys, it is a fight Steve Bunce summed up pretty accurately in the Independent when he said it is not a fight that either guy really needed, but here we are and testament to both guys for stepping up and doing it. WBO No.1 and WBO No.2, the Interim title is on the line and, while some people might not like that word, it is an important one particular at the moment in the heavyweight division. We all know Usyk, with the unified titles, is angling for a possible undisputed fight early next year with Tyson Fury, but the belt on Saturday night is going to pay a lot into 2023 in the heavyweight division.
“We are here because Joe Joyce wanted this fight, that is the reason. We have worked very hard to get here and both sides will probably admit it was not the easiest deal to get done. We thought we had it done, then we didn’t and then we thankfully managed to resolve some issues. It is going to be a cracking night, it is a stacked card and I am really happy to be working with so many different promoters, including Boxxer, and I appreciate their support, particularly Ben and Sky for making this happen and allowing us to make it on BT Box Office. That type of good spirited nature is required in this sport at times and we see it across the whole card. We’ve got Lou DiBella working with us in regards to the Cacace-Magnesi fight, plus the great Amanda Serrano looking to unify again working with MVP, Jake Paul and Nikisa. Plus our friends at Top Rank for taking this on ESPN+, so this really is a culmination of a lot of different promotional companies coming together, making fights happen and delivering for fight fans.
Ben Shalom (Boxxer)
“Outside maybe the top four guys, this is the biggest fight in the division with what’s on the line. Mentioning Joe Joyce wanted this fight, when we signed Joe Parker, despite him signing with us he said ‘Ben, if there is a way, make this fight happen’. We managed to work with George and get the terms that Joseph wanted and George was great with that. This is the fight Joseph Parker wanted, make no mistake about that. And so to be able to get it on for him, he feels this is coming at the right time in his career, he has had a few fights with Andy Lee, and he feels like he is coming into the peak of his career. He is 30 years old, a former world champion and seven years younger than Joe Joyce. He feels fresh, he feels ready, he’s got the experience and we felt this is the perfect fight. Thankfully, with Queensberry and BT as well, the fight is on and the fans are happy. I think the card is very, very good as well and I can’t wait for Saturday night.”
Ismael Salas (Joyce trainer)
“I’ve been following Mr Joe Parker and his team during training camp for this fight and he has been doing great conditioning, working hard. One thing I would like to say to his team, you can run, but remember you can’t hide. We have been working with so many good sparring partners and the Hammer fight broke the ice after a layoff without a fight. We will see on Saturday night, man down, man down!”
Andy Lee (Parker trainer)
“Any fight can be made an easy fight depending on what style you use and what tactics you use. Joseph Parker has been well drilled throughout this camp and knows what he has to do to make this an easy fight. I’m not going to say how he should do it, but he knows and I know. I mean no disrespect to Joe Joyce, we all know his credentials in the sport and what he has done so far. He hasn’t fought anyone like Joseph Parker yet. It will be a hard fight and at this level it is a minimum requirement, to work hard. Joseph Parker has all the skill, the speed and the talent, plus the determination to win this fight easily – if he does it well.”
Adam Moralee (Joyce manager)
“We have tremendous respect for Joseph Parker, a former world champion who has got the heart of a warrior and he is elite. A world champion and Joe wants to get there. I think that Joe Joyce can get there and will get there on Saturday night. Joseph’s team have publicly been saying things that show very little respect for Joe Joyce. I heard someone on their side say he has got zero boxing ability. I look at this man who is about to go 15-0. Show me a man who has got his resume at 14-0. He has not fought anyone with a losing record, he has fought former world champions, beaten Daniel Dubois, who people said would flatten him in two or three rounds. He consistently defies expectations and consistently defies the disrespect that he gets constantly. I think on Saturday you are going to see the real level of Joe Joyce and what he does when he faces off against a fighter at the very top of the division. No doubt when Joe wins people will still criticise things, but this guy is going up and up and only going one way. For me, Usyk, Fury and Joyce are the top three in the division.”
David Higgins (Parker manager)
“We’re feeling good and it is a privilege to be back in Manchester for the fourth time. Joe has had three wins in Manchester so far and has been welcomed by Tyson Fury and the wonderful people around him who are almost like family. So it is not like fighting on enemy territory, it is like a home fight and we love it here. Stuff flies around on social media, but to say we don’t respect Joyce is silly. We’ve massive respect for him and there is a reason most top heavyweights have avoided Joe Joyce. He is a formidable opponent, but our Joseph Parker has never shied away from risk and has stepped as quick as possible into the biggest fights and occasions with an eye for a world title. Outside of the title holders, in Joyce and Parker you’ve got the two heavyweights at the very top. It is an international blockbuster event on worldwide TV.”
JOSEPH PARKER HAS revealed that, at his most successful point, he was living out his boxing career for the benefit of others.
The now 30-year-old, who takes on Joe Joyce in a huge Manchester blockbuster on September 24, became WBO world heavyweight champion in December 2016 by defeating Andy Ruiz on home soil in Auckland and winning the title vacated by Tyson Fury via a tight points decision.
It has now been declared that Joyce-Parker will be fighting for the status of becoming WBO Interim world heavyweight champion at the AO Arena. The ‘Nowhere to Run’ blockbuster on 24 September is being shown exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office and is promoted by Frank Warren for Queensberry Promotions in association with BOXXER.
In what should have been a period of great fulfillment six years ago, there was something missing for Parker that he struggled with at the time. He can now put this void down to chasing dreams that weren’t his own.
Becoming a parent for the first time to Elizabeth made Parker understand his own discontent at a time when he should have been embracing national hero status in his native New Zealand.
“When I wasn’t a father I was doing boxing for myself because I enjoyed it, but mostly for others,” explained Parker on the Unibet Lowdown. “I’m not sure how this sounds, but I was doing it more for my dad because it was his dream and I was doing it more for my coach Kevin (Barry), who wanted to have a heavyweight world champion.
“When I achieved it I sort of wasn’t the happiest, maybe because it was for them. Now that I have my wife and my kids, in boxing I am a lot more motivated because I want to do it for myself and my immediate family.”
If the tale sounds familiar, it is because Parker’s great friend and training partner Tyson experienced similar emotions on becoming unified champion and subsequently spiralled into a mire of serious mental health issues that he recovered from in a most remarkable way.
“I think I went through exactly the same thing, but I didn’t look at it as mental health at the time. Now I have had more discussions about it, maybe I did go through the same thing, I just didn’t realise.
“I was still training and fighting, but wasn’t enjoying it. I didn’t want to associate with people and didn’t want to talk, I was out there doing this and that. I was still fighting but wasn’t training properly. I wasn’t doing anything right because I didn’t want to do it. But I was still doing it and doing it with no purpose.
“Now I have a purpose. Now I am motivated. Now I am driven. I have my wife and my kids at home who I have left and I have missed a lot of special occasions because of this goal that I have.”
Parker has set out clear goals for the remaining chapters of his boxing story and, while returning to the heavyweight top table features strongly, he is more about the here and now and taking as much as he can from each single experience.
“I don’t write them down but I do have them in my head. I should write them down, that would be a good thing to do. My goal, further out there, is to be heavyweight champion of the world. I think it would be amazing to have a fighter from New Zealand and Samoa be a two-time world champion.
“The goal is to appreciate each fight, appreciate the moment, to live in the moment and be present. If I think about stuff way down there I am not going to enjoy the process. I want to enjoy the training, the food, everything that is involved with the camp.
“I want to enjoy going home and seeing my family after a camp but, for now, I am in camp and I am going to enjoy every single moment of it.
“Now it is about the journey, the destination will take care of itself.”
As well as the huge Joyce vs Parker clash, Amanda Serrano will be bidding to win four world title belts at featherweight when the Puerto Rican superstar makes her UK debut and battles the unbeaten Dane Sarah Mahfoud.
Queensberry fighters Anthony Cacace, Ekow Essuman, Nathan Heaney, Raven Chapman and Mark Heffron all feature in the supporting cast of the 24 September ‘Nowhere to Run’ blockbuster at the AO Arena, Manchester, a fight night not-to-be-missed.