Team Parker on the siege mentality that took them to victory over Wilder

A delighted Andy Lee called it a “masterclass” after his fighter, Joseph Parker, had upset some of the heavyweight division’s best-laid plans. 

Parker won a wide decision over American veteran Deontay Wilder, potentially scuppering a spring showdown between Wilder and Anthony Joshua.

Lee and Parker have been working diligently to bring Parker back from the first stoppage loss of his career, when he was defeated in one of the best bouts of 2022 by Joe Joyce. 

Ring activity in the shape of four fights and four training camps through 2023 has taken Parker back to the top of the mountain. The 31-year-old is now 34-3 with 23 stoppages.

“This time last year, Joseph was at his lowest ebb,” revealed Lee. “We’d not long lost to Joe Joyce, but it’s testament to the mental strength, the skill that this man has, he didn’t put his head down, he dug in deeper, trained harder, backed himself and showed you what anyone can do in the sport. This time last year, no one gave us a chance. Now he’s just beaten Deontay Wilder in 12 rounds, beat him every single round. That’s what this man is.”

Lee and Parker have had camps in Morecambe with Tyson Fury and in Ireland, where the trainer and former WBO middleweight champion is from. They travelled to Riyadh as underdogs, but left their mark in Saudi Arabia with a dominant, convincing win over the feared Alabama puncher.

“This week we’ve had to put up with a lot of stuff…. Joshua-Wilder… the deal is done…,’ Lee continued. “We got a tiny dressing room…. We got a small hotel room… He [Parker]’s top of the bill, he’s the main event, he’s a former world champion. He [Wilder]’s driving round in a Rolls Royce. All this talk, all these press conferences, it’s all about Wilder and Joshua. This man had to put up with it all. He didn’t get demoralised. He didn’t get his head down, he just dug in again and showed how strong he is.”

Now the future is bright once more for the likeable New Zealander, who said he wants to box four more times in 2024.

“He's ready for anyone in the world,” said Lee. “We’re all behind [training partner] Tyson [Fury] and his unification fight. And we know he’s going to win, but outside of Usyk and Tyson we’ll fight anybody. He’s elite. He’s No. 3 in the world if you ask me, and he could be No. 1 when he gets the opportunity. He’s ready for anyone, [Anthony] Joshua, [Andy] Ruiz, I’d like to see him get the Joshua fight and avenge that loss.”

Parker credited Lee with the strategy he employed to defeat Wilder. Parker looked like the puncher in there, with Wilder the one reluctant to both throw and engage.

“I came out with a plan,” Parker explained. “I’ve worked very hard this year and executed the plan Andy had in place. I felt good in the ring and activity was very important to get this win to finish the year off and Merry Christmas to us.” 

Wilder was hesitant, but Parker kept looking for the big right hand that nearly caused Wilder to unravel in a dramatic round eight. Wilder had boxed just one round in two years, but Parker was more concerned about how he won the fight rather than how Wilder might have lost it.

“I think inactivity played a big part but I think with the plan we had and sticking to it, he wasn’t able to do what he wanted to do,” said the winner.

“Andy said to me before the fight, fight fire with fire. We are [now] ready for whatever fight they want to make. Any fight.”

Asked whether it’s the biggest win of his career that has seen him fight Dereck Chisora, Dillian Whyte, Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz, Joe Joyce and Carlos Takam, Parker said: “It’s a top win. The win over Andy Ruiz was great at the time, and now at this time this win is massive.”