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Joseph Parker sparring with Eric Molina to prepare for Whyte

Joseph Parker

By Scott Gilfoid: Former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker has been sparring with former world title challenger Eric Molina to prepare for his fight against Dillian Whyte this month on July 28 on Sky Box Office at the O2 Arena in London, England. Their fight now is 18 days away, and Parker, 26, wants to be fully prepared for Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) when he steps inside the ring with the 30-year-old.

Molina (26-5, 19 KOs) was knocked out by Joshua in the 5th round in December 2016 in Manchester, England. Molina, then 34, looked sage struck at the time and not willing to let his hands go in the way that he needed to for him to have a chance of winning. Since then, Molina has fought just twice, beating Terrell Jamal Woods and losing to Dominic Breazeale by an 8th round stoppage last November. Molina hasn’t fought in 2018 as of yet. Molina will be getting some good work in sparring with a talent like Parker, who will give him rounds and keep him sharp for his next fight whenever that is.

Molina also challenged WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder for his title in 2015, but was stopped in the 9th round after giving him some tough rounds earlier in the fight. It was a different Molina that fought Wilder compared to the one that fought Joshua. Against Joshua, Molina fought like he was gun-shy, afraid to let his hands go. Against Wilder, Molina went for broke in throwing his best power shots. He even hurt Wilder at one point in the fight after connecting with a big left hook that had him stunned briefly. Unfortunately for Molina, he failed to take advantage of the situation by not pressing the issue the way that he needed to for him to finish the job.

”For this Dillian Whyte fight, obviously he’s got a very aggressive come-forward style. He likes to engage,” Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry said to Sky Sports News. “It’s very important for us that Joe fights a certain way in this fight and we’ll be looking to employ our game-plan that we’ve put in place and keep perfecting it and getting better with it every time in sparring.”

Parker is going to need to be aggressive if he wants to beat Whyte, because if he thinks he’s going to get a decision, he might be disappointed if things don’t work out that way. Normally, you would think that it should be an easy thing for Parker to simply use his superior boxing skills to out-box Whyte to win a decision, but this fight isn’t going to be held at a neutral venue, so we could see a fight that goes to Whyte if it goes to the scorecards. If Parker wants to make sure that he’s not on the receiving end of what could be a hometown decision, he needs to go after ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte with his power game and knock him down three or four times and try and force a stoppage. Parker is an excellent puncher when he’s sitting down on his shots and thinking knockout. Unfortunately, he tends to go into his boxing mode in a lot of his fights, making them harder than they should be. For example, if Parker had gone after Joshua last March looking to knock him out, he would have had a much better chance of winning the fight than he would have trying to beat him by a decision, given that he never had a chance of beating him by a decision with the referee that worked the fight.

“Very strong, he’s got a granite chin and moves very well,” said Molina to about Parker. “He’s got very, very unique attributes for a heavyweight and he moves well.”

The winner of the Whyte vs. Parker fight will be in a good position to get a rematch against Joshua. Both have lost to Joshua, but Parker did a far better job against him, hurting him a couple of times in the early rounds before the referee stepped and allowing inside fighting. That was a boon to Joshua, who clearly couldn’t handle Parker’s inside game. Parker was beating the breaks off of Joshua when they were in close. But after the referee took away the inside game, any chance that Parker had of winning the fight was gone. The fight took place in Cardiff, Wales. It’s doubtful that the referee that works the Parker vs. Whyte fight will do the same thing by not letting the two fighters brawl on the inside, because it would look really bad. It probably won’t matter even if the referee does prevent inside fighting, since Whyte mostly fights on the outside. Although Whyte is nicknamed ‘The Body Snatcher,’ he fights on the outside most of the time, and he’s not a vicious body puncher as his moniker would imply. If Parker wants to take the fight to the inside, he might need to do his work quickly before the referee jumps in and pulls him off of Whyte.

As far as the work that Parker will be getting in with Molina, he’s going to be dealing with more punching power from him than he will from Whyte, who is more of a slapper than a power puncher. Whyte used to have good power in his left hook, but he lost it after he suffered a shoulder injury in 2015. Whyte’s right hand isn’t a threat. The only weapon that Whyte has is his left hook, and it’s not much of a threat. Whyte did knockout the slow as molasses former WBA heavyweight champion Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne with a left hook in the 6th round his last fight in March at the O2 Arena in London, but that was against a fat and ring rusty Browne. As badly out of shape as Browne was in that fight, he would have made any halfway decent heavyweight contender look good on the night. Whyte is not a knockout puncher, and if he makes the mistake of punching with Parker, he could wind up getting knocked out for his troubles. Parker has a very good chance of winning this fight if he takes his power game and goes after Whyte from the 1st round on.

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