Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker 24-2 (18) is set to return to the ring on December 15 at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The 26-year-old Kiwi of Samoan extraction is looking to bounce back after back-to-back losses in a heavyweight title unification clash with Anthony Joshua in Cardiff in April and leading contender Dillian Whyte in London in July.
“After a five-year undefeated run that took Joseph all the way to winning the WBO World Title, we now find ourselves in very unusual territory – coming off back-to-back losses,” trainer Kevin Barry said to RNZ.
“Joe has never been in this position before and needs a top performance.”
No opponent has yet been named for the headline fight on the ‘Southern Showdown’ card. It will be Parker’s first fight in New Zealand in 18 months.
“Whoever they put in front of me I need to get the job done – and get it done well,” said Parker.
“Having experienced what it is like to reach the pinnacle of the sport, and then come back down again after a couple of tough defeats, I’m more motivated than ever to get back on top.”
The fight against Whyte was a missed opportunity for Parker. Despite finding himself on the canvas in the second and ninth rounds, the former world titleholder finished strongly to drop Whyte in the 12th and final round but ran out of time to finish the job. Brixton’s Whyte won a close unanimous decision.
“I could have, and should have, won that fight (against Whyte), but that’s boxing,” said Parker.
“It’s now time to get back to work. I can’t wait to fight again in Christchurch. I’ve got really good memories from my last time there (a fourth round KO of Australian Solomon Haumono in July 2016).”
WBO number 12 ranked heavyweight Junior Fa 15-0 (8) will feature in the main support bout of the Duco Events card.