The trading of verbal jabs during an opening press conference was an unfamiliar experience for Joseph Parker, as the ex-WBO heavyweight title holder is more used to exchanging pleasantries with forthcoming opponents. But with his proposed collision with Joe Joyce mired in confusion and delay for a considerable period before it was finally made official, there was an undercurrent of tension and ill-feeling in the air at the BT Sport studios when the two heavyweights got together to reveal that an accord had been reached and preparations for September 24th at the AO Arena in Manchester can begin. Parker (pictured) told Dev Sahni in an exclusive UniBet Lowdown interview that he also had to endure the angst of fractured negotiations and he is happy that they will soon be able to trade leather along with insults.
“It was the first press conference I have been involved with that was quite fiery,” said the New Zealander. “Because of the lead up to making this fight happen there is a lot of frustration from both sides. We were outnumbered at the top but, if (manager) David Higgins was here, he would have had a lot to say. Ultimately, it is great the fight is locked in now. We have a date, a venue and there are two guys who want to smash each other’s faces in.”
Joyce promised to inflict ‘dents’ to the facial features of the 30 year-old Parker, who now trains alongside Tyson Fury in the seaside town of Morecambe. Unsurprisingly, Parker says he intends to reciprocate.
“He can try his best! And I am going to do the same to him. He hasn’t fought anyone like me before. I am confident with the new team that I have – nothing wrong with the old team and we achieved great things together – with Andy Lee in my corner and Tyson supporting and helping me. This camp will be by far the best camp I have been involved in. Every other camp was great, but I am going to make this one the best.”
An amusing element of Joyce’s press conference patter was an occasional quack in reference to the thinking that Parker was seeking to duck this fight and seek alternative employment.
Far from it, Parker insists, adding that he wants reflections on his career to centre on his plan to take on all comers. “I want to be remembered as a fighter who fought everyone. A lot of people were saying I wasn’t going to fight Joe Joyce and that I was ducking him, but it was the fight that we wanted and it is why we are here. Credit to him because he could have just waited, waited for his chance to fight for a world title, but he wants to put it on the line. Both fighters see this as the perfect fight and it is the most challenging fight out there for me and for him. It is challenging for me because he hasn’t been beaten and a lot of people think he is invincible and can take every punch out there. They call him the juggernaut, but I will show everyone what I can do in the ring. I am not sure what I am going to do. Whether I dance around and jab his head off, put the pressure on him. It will come together with Andy Lee and he is the person to come up with the perfect game plan. We execute it well and it will be a great night for Team Parker.”
Tickets for ‘Nowhere to Run’ – the heavyweight clash between Joe Joyce and Joe Parker on September 24th at the AO Arena, Manchester – are on sale now exclusively from Ticketmaster.co.uk.