Joseph Parker has teased heavyweight rival Joe Joyce by warning the Briton some of the crowd at Manchester’s AO Arena will be supporting him.
The duo go head-to-head in an eagerly-awaited clash on Saturday where the winner will move a step closer to a world title shot in 2023.
While London-born Joyce is the home fighter, the majority of his bouts have occurred in the capital and this will be his first time at the Manchester venue.
New Zealander Parker on the other hand will be eyeing a fourth consecutive victory at the arena and having spent most of the last 18 months living in Morecambe, he feels a strong Lancashire following – including “brother” Tyson Fury – will be there to back him this weekend.
“That is my arena. Three wins, Hughie (Fury), Derek (Chisora) and Derek again, so I’m going to make it four,” Parker (30-2, 21KOs) told the PA news agency.
“I know the UK supporters have been very good to me, very welcoming so I feel this is another home for me.
“I do know when I fight one of their own, they always support their own but there will be some I have taken as my own and will be cheering for me.
“I am looking forward to putting on a great show.”
This will be the sixth time Parker has fought in the UK with his most notable contest taking place in 2018 at the Principality Stadium where he lost on points to Anthony Joshua in a world title fight.
England has largely been home to the 30-year-old since the coronavirus pandemic after he struck up a strong bond with Fury, who is set to face Joshua in an all-British blockbuster affair later this year despite suggesting on several previous occasions he is retiring.
Parker said of his training partner: “Tyson is at most training sessions, we go for runs and he’s in the gym.
“He lets Andy (Lee) teach me, train me and come up with game plans but he adds his advice when and where he can. When he is in the gym, he brings this positive vibe and good energy so it is always good to have Tyson in the gym. In his own gym that I have now made my own!
“It will be good to see (Fury vs Joshua). Tyson has retired multiple times and come back multiple times but I think he will be here a while in the boxing game. He still has a lot to give.”
Former WBO champion Parker has been trained by Lee since last year and has two wins from two under the guidance of his new team.
The long-term goal for the experienced boxer is becoming world champion again and whoever triumphs in Manchester will be mandatory challenger to Oleksandr Usyk but a rematch clause has been inserted by Joyce’s camp.
“The rematch clause I don’t think should happen unless you are champion,” Parker insisted.
“I think they just needed it to feel they are keeping their position as mandatory or number one but that is how much I back myself.
“I locked in the fight, I know what it takes to beat him, I know I can beat him and if he wants a rematch and another beating, I’ll give him another chance to lose again.
“Two-time world champion is kind of further down the line. I can see myself being world champion again but that is not really the immediate (goal).
“It is sitting there and I know what it takes but it is about being involved in these fights, winning these fights, winning well and being involved in exciting fights.”
If Parker can see off Joyce (14-0, 13KOs), it could open the door for more contests with other British boxers and potentially revenge.
He added: “Fighting Dillian Whyte again to avenge the loss I had, or fighting Joshua would be good, but none of those will ever work or happen if I don’t get rid of this guy first.
“Joe Joyce has my full 100 per cent attention and I want to punch his face first before I punch their faces.”
:: BT Sport Box Office will show Joe Joyce v Joseph Parker exclusively live on Saturday 24th September. Learn more at bt.com/sportboxoffice