Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker 25-2 (19) is looking to make a statement when he faces Alex ‘The Lionheart’ Leapai 32-7-4 (26) at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday June 29 live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
The fight will be the first bout for the 27-year-old New Zealander under the Matchroom Boxing USA banner, who he signed a three-fight deal with earlier this year.
Parker is promising an explosive performance against former world title challenger Leapai, who was stopped in five rounds by Wladimir Klitschko in his unsuccessful challenge for the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles in Germany five years ago.
“Over the past six years of being a professional, this is the first time that I’ve come into camp at a good weight,” said Parker to Sky Sports.
“I’m enjoying camp more as a result I think, because we’re working more on skills and technique rather than focusing on losing weight. I feel faster, I feel everything is clicking, less injuries and everything is on track.
“A stoppage would be nice, that’s the goal going into every fight. I just have to change up the mindset to not only go in there and win but go in and KO someone and make a statement.”
Parker remains the only man to defeat Andy Ruiz Jr, who shocked the world to claim the unified heavyweight championship from previously undefeated Brit Anthony Joshua at New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 1.
Last year Parker dropped back-to-back 12-round points decisions to Joshua and leading heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte, results he is eager to avenge in rematches.
“I would love to avenge the losses that I have had against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte,” said Parker, who bounced back with a third-round knockout of American Alexander Flores last December.
“I’ll fight them tomorrow, but Dillian is trying to fight for the WBC title so respect to him for that. If the opportunity came along, I would love that fight again.”
Samoan-born Australian Leapai, 39, has fought just five times since his loss to Klitschko, going 2-2-1 (2). In his last outing in August he knocked out veteran Roger Izonritei in the opening round.
“I am the Samoan Andy Ruiz – the guy everyone writes off,” said Leapai. “This will be the second massive upset this year, because Parker is getting sparked, then I’m going to take Andy’s Snickers off him!”