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Joseph Parker: ‘I believe I’ll beat Oleksandr Usyk’

Alexander Usyk Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder Tyson Fury

By Barry Holbrook: Joseph Parker says he’s ready to take on Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO heavyweight title if the current champion Anthony Joshua relinquishes the strap.

Former WBO heavyweight champion Parker (26-2, 20 KOs) is scheduled to fight next month on February 29 against an opponent still to be determined on the Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas card on DAZN at The Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco, Texas.

The IBF and WBO still haven’t come to an agreement which of the two of their mandatory challengers will go first in 2020 against heavyweight champ Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs). But it’s believed that the WBO is the one that Joshua will vacate if push comes to shove, as it’s the easier title for him to try and reclaim later.

Usyk and Parker are both with Matchroom Boxing, and so it’ll be easier for Joshua to setup a fight with the winner of that contest than it would if he vacates his IBF belt.

Parker wants Oleksandr Usyk next for WBO belt

“We pulled out of the fight. I was looking forward to the fight, but the doctor said we weren’t able to train and fight due to the spider bite,” said Parker to The Schmo about him pulling out of his scheduled fight against Dereck Chisora. “It’s one of those things where we wanted to fight, but we weren’t in the position to.

“The doctor said we got it in New Zealand,” said Parker about his spider bite. “I didn’t know we had spiders that could cause this, but I was wrong. That would be a great opportunity. Usyk is a good fighter, great skill and good movement. The chance to fight for the WBO world title would be amazing, and I would take it with both hands, and I’ll be prepared and give it everything I can.

“I believe I’ll win,” said Parker about a fight with Usyk. “I’m not sure what the thinking was behind being heavier. More power?” said Parker about Andy Ruiz Jr. coming in at 283 lbs for his rematch against Anthony Joshua. “But Joshua put on a nice clinical performance, boxing from the outside. He was constantly moving, so he wasn’t able to be caught. So he put on a great performance, and he deserves to win,” said Parker.

Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn wants to match Usyk against Dereck Chisora in the first quarter of 2020, but he’s still holding off from making that fight. Hearn can’t pull the trigger on the Usyk-Chisora fight until he finds out what the IBF and WBO will decide on doing. Usyk prefers to fight Joshua next, but it may not happen.

Tyson Fury beats Deontay Wilder predicts Parker

“I’ll be a fantastic fight,” said Parker about the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury rematch. “The first fight was so exciting that everyone will tune in for the second fight. The way that I see it, both fighters are champions, but I’ll be backing Fury for the win. Wilder has a big right hand, but he also has a chin, and he’s proved it in the ring.

“So for me, it’ll probably be for points or unanimous decision,” Parker said in picking Fury to beat Wilder. “But sometimes I’m wrong. I was a little surprised,” said Parker when asked about Fury splitting with trainer Ben Davison. “Ben was good for Fury, but I guess at this time in his career, Tyson made some changes. So he’s happy with his changes, and I support him for whatever he does,” said Parker.

A lot of boxing fans are picking Fury to win the rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder on February 22. They point out the success that Fury had in their previous fight in December 2018, a fight which was scored a 12 round draw.

Of course, Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) had the element of surprise in the first contest with Wilder, and he’s not going to have that the second time. You have to believe that Wilder will be better prepared to deal with Fury’s movement in the rematch, and will know how to deal with it better.

According to what Hearn is saying, the IBF is next in line to have their mandatory go first. Usyk doesn’t want to wait for his title shot, and it’s not surprising. It’s risky for Usyk to take fights against the likes of Chisora, because there’s the potential of him losing. This isn’t the cruiserweight division.

Parker open for sparring against Fury to help him

“We’re going to do 100 rounds,” said Parker when asked how many rounds he’ll spar with Fury. “I’m joking. I’ve never sparred him, so if I do get the opportunity, I’ll take it, because I want to test myself against the best. But I’ve never had the opportunity to spar him, because we’re good friends.

“I haven’t been invited to the gym to spar,” said Parker on Fury. “Yeah, if I got the opportunity to spar, it would be good, I want Chisora, because that was the guy that I was looking at fighting. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to go ahead. So, I actually don’t care. I just want to fight someone in the top,” said Parker.

Fury is reportedly using these green fighters as sparring partners to help him prepare for Wilder

  • David Adeleye – 6’4″
  • George Fox
  • Jared Anderson – 6’4″

None of them are as big as Deontay Wilder, and of course none of them pack the same kind of power in their right hand. If they had Wilder’s power, they wouldn’t be sparring partners.

It would be a good idea for Parker not to hold his breath waiting or Fury to accept his offer to spar with him, because that’s not going to happen. The last thing Fury needs is for Parker to train with him, and figure out all his weaknesses so that he can exploit them in the future. Parker is a good fighter, and is in an excellent spot at #2 with the WBO. He’ll get another crack at a world title, be it against Usyk or Joshua in the near future.

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