Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker 24-2 (18) says that his loss to Dillian Whyte 24-1 (17) in July has made him a meaner, hungrier fighter ahead of his fight against Alexander Flores 17-1-1 (15) at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch, New Zealand this Saturday night.
The 26-year-old Kiwi of Samoan descent still holds out hopes of a rematch with the Brixton ‘Body Snatcher’ after his close unanimous decision loss at London’s O2 Arena five months ago.
Parker was on the deck in the second and ninth frames but rallied in the championship rounds to deck Whyte in the final stanza but was unable to finish the job, going down by scores of 111-114, 110-115 and 112-113.
The laidback Parker had made a name for himself with his respectful approach to the sport as he logged wins over fringe contender Andy Ruiz and Hughie Fury before back-to-back losses to unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) and Whyte. Parker remains the only boxer to survive the distance with the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion.
“Listen, it’s good to be the nice guy, but nice guys don’t always get the job done,” Parker told Sky Sports. “Now it’s time to be the guy that’s going to put on the pressure, the guy that’s going to be rough and tough.
“It’s time to maybe change my demeanour going into fights.”
After being extended the 12-round championship distance in each of his past five fights Parker says it’s time to reclaim his reputation as a fearsome puncher.
“I know I’m going to be well prepared, I know I’m going to be fit and strong, and I’ll be punching with more authority, punching with more power,” he said.
“The goal for me is to just go in there and execute the plan to the best of my ability, and I think if I execute it well, and I’m showing what we’re showing in the ring, then things will turn out well. Just let it happen.
“The goal for me is to follow the plan that my coach has in place, and I think that it’s a good plan. Follow that well, hopefully the knockout does come. Listen, everyone wants to get a knockout, because if you knock someone out in a fight, not only is it an earlier night, but it’s impressive.”
Whyte returns to action on December 22 at London’s O2 Arena when he rematches the rejuvenated Dereck Chisora 29-8 (21) who is coming off a surprise TKO8 victory over Carlos Takam on the Whyte-Parker undercard.
“I’ll definitely be tuning in to watch. I would love to be there, but I think we’ve already got some family plans. But I will definitely be watching. The first fight was a total war,” said Parker.
“They both thought they won the first fight, so they’ve got to be coming in with more drive, more motivation to put on a better performance and try and knock someone out.”
Parker will be rooting for Whyte with a view to gaining redemption in a rematch against the 30-year-old Londoner.
“I would love to. Listen, my hand is up for it. Hopefully he can take care of business and fight the fights that he wants, and then when he’s ready, let’s get it on,” he said.