Training alongside Tyson Fury has instilled Joseph Parker with such confidence he is convinced he will knock out Joe Joyce.
Parker and Joyce will fight for the WBO ‘Interim’ heavyweight belt at the Manchester Arena on Saturday.
The New Zealander has been preparing for the contest with trainer Andy Lee in Fury’s Morecambe gym.
“It’s been fantastic. Tyson does make time to be in our sessions when he can,” Parker told Sky Sports.
“To have someone like Tyson around, with the confidence that he comes in with, positivity, pushing you and encouraging everyone, you’re only going to build as a fighter and get better.”
Having the world’s leading heavyweight as a mentor can only benefit Parker. The New Zealander’s manager David Higgins noted: “Tyson’s got the greatest self-belief of just about anyone in sport and he’s a very straight shooter, he doesn’t sugar-coat things.”
Fury and Parker have only done body sparring with each other. “That’s not easy,” Parker said. “We smash each other to the body as hard as we can. In terms of full contact sparring we haven’t done that yet.
“I’d love to test myself against him one day. I’m not sure we’ll ever fight because we’re that close, he’s been very generous, very good to me. He’s helped me, looked after me and done so much for me I feel like his brother.”
Parker is known for his footwork and hand speed, but he believes he can be the first professional fighter to hurt and halt Joyce. He argues that as tough as Joyce is, the Londoner takes too many shots.
“At the top, top level I don’t think you can take those punches,” Parker said. “When you take punches like that all the time, you take a bit more damage.
“I’m not sure how long you can sustain that kind of punishment for.
“He takes a lot of shots, so if I can sit down and get my shots connected and throw a big shot and land clean, I’m sure I can get him out of there.
“I think I can stop anyone. It would have been nice to stop [Dereck] Chisora but I didn’t get the stoppage, I knocked him down a few times. So I was very close to it. In any fight the right punch at the right time can stop anyone out there and get anyone out of there.”
Looking to knock out, rather than outbox, Joyce could be a mistake. Joyce sets a fearsome pace for a heavyweight. He is strong and relentless.
But Parker said: “This fight I want to mix it up. In the [Dereck] Chisora fight I felt good standing my ground and I felt good trading.
“Being good on your feet and moving around isn’t the exciting part of boxing. It’s nice to mix it up and get stuck in there and get amongst it.”
Joyce does have a rematch clause, which Parker takes as a sign of weakness. “After my first fight with Chisora, he [Joyce] wanted to fight and he didn’t want a rematch clause. After my second fight with Chisora, the negotiations continued and they wanted a rematch clause,” he said.
“Win twice and move on. That’s what we’re going to do.”
If the rematch does happen, Parker is determined to get it in before the end of this year.
The ultimate victor will be in position to challenge Oleksandr Usyk, the holder of the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles.
“The winner of this fight is obviously mandated for the WBO world title,” said Parker’s promoter Ben Shalom.
“The winner of this fight almost goes into the top four heavyweights in the world and will definitely fight for a world title.
“Both fighters know that this is huge,” Shalom added. “There’s a lot on the line for both of them.”