Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker is set to return to the ring next month where he will be bidding to win his fourth consecutive contest. The New Zealander is scheduled to meet his compatriot Junior Fa for the WBO Oriental interim heavyweight title on the 12th December. Arguably what is more important to Parker, though, is getting a step closer to earning another shot at a world championship.
Parker held the WBO title between 2016 and 2018. He won the crown with victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in front of a home crowd four years ago. If he is able to continue his winning run in the ring, he may get another opportunity of landing one of the four major honors in the sport.
Fa is an opponent who Parker will be very familiar with. The pair fought four times during their amateur careers where both men have two victories to their name. This will be their first professional bout and it is being billed as the “fight of the century in New Zealand”.
Parker is the strong favorite in the boxing betting as he is 1/6 to come out on top. If successful, it will be revenge for the 28-year-old as Fa denied him the chance to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics, winning their contest at the Oceania Boxing Championship prior to the games.
Fa is unbeaten since turning professional in 2016. He has a 19-0 record, with his latest win coming over Devin Vargas in Salt Lake City. His next test is a big step up in class in the pro ranks as he has yet to face anyone in the same class as some of Parker’s opponents.
Given his previous success over Parker, Fa will be confident he can cause an upset. He is 7/2 in the betting to keep up his 100% record and prove to be a nemesis for the former world champion.
A return To New Zealand For Parker
This latest bout will be the chance for Parker to have a homecoming. His last two contests have come in the United States. He defeated Alex Leapai in Rhode Island in June 2019, stopping his opponent in the 10th round. In his most recent fight earlier this year, he was even more impressive, beating Shawndell Winters in the fifth round in Texas.
Those wins have helped Parker repair his reputation. In 2018 he suffered back-to-back defeats. The first of his losses came against Anthony Joshua, although he did not get the result, Parker was praised for lasting 12 rounds with the British boxer.
His second loss was inflicted by Dillian Whyte in London. That was a really close contest but Whyte just edged it on the judges’ scorecards. It also meant Parker went further down the pecking order in the heavyweight division which is as strong now as it has been in two decades.
Parker was the first-ever New Zealand boxer to win a world heavyweight title. He will be hoping he can get back to the summit of the division with another major crown in 2021.