Former heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker scored an emphatic third round knockout victory over Simon Kean last week on the Tyson Fury Vs Francis Ngannou undercard.
The win in the Middle East signifies somewhat of a reinstatement for Parker within the upper echelons of boxing’s most revered division. The New Zealander’s career was in tatters after a vicious knockout defeat to Joe Joyce last summer in Manchester. Parker has since gone three fights undefeated with a less than sensational points win over cruiserweight Jack Massey followed by a first round knockout win over Australian Faiga Opelu this past May.
“We are delighted with Joseph’s performance [against Kean], it was a clinical finish.” Parker’s promoter David Higgins said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “I think he is building some real momentum now. He lost to Joe Joyce about a year ago, then he had the win against Massey, and then destroyed an opponent in Melbourne. This was his second knockout win in a row. I think he is at his best when he is fighting regularly.
“He is a free agent at the moment and he is globally recognised, it is looking good. We are excited about the future. Joseph will fight anyone that makes sense, we are just going to take stock after the victory and see what opportunities are out there.”
Parker (33-3, 23 KOs) reigned as WBO world champion after defeating Andy Ruiz in Auckland at the end of 2016, defending his title twice in 2017, eventually losing his title to Anthony Joshua the year after. The 31 year old’s backroom staff is far from the team we saw around him five years ago. Now based predominantly in the UK, Parker has struck up a kinship with current WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.
“His family and home is still in New Zealand, but he is in the UK for every training camp.” Higgins explained. “I think it has been wonderful to have Tyson’s confidence and will-to-win rub off. The training, the dedication, living and breathing boxing, almost mentoring, and obviously being on this card [in Saudi Arabia] has been a great opportunity. It has been a great development and a step change in Joseph’s career.
“Obviously Joseph won the fight against Hughie Fury, we actually invited Tyson to have a few drinks after the fight. Tyson came and had a few drinks with Joseph Parker and they hit it off and kept in touch. Joseph would reach out to Tyson for advice now and then, and then Tyson kindly invited him to Morecambe to train. They just developed a natural friendship.”
Parker moved trainer in the aforementioned period from longtime countryman Kevin Barry to Andy Lee. The 31 year old is now six fights deep with the Irish former middleweight world champion who works as second trainer for Fury.
“I think when we won the world title against Any Ruiz, that was a long partnership between Joseph Parker and Kevin Barry.” Higgins added. “I think it was over seven years or so, but I think it is wonderful. Andy and Joseph have gelled really well, they are now building some momentum.”