Parker 'primed and ready' to take advantage of Wilder rustiness

By Sports Desk December 23, 2023

Joseph Parker believes he can take advantage of any rustiness on Deontay Wilder's part when the fighters meet on Saturday, expressing confidence in his chances of a shock win.

Former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder will face Parker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, with Anthony Joshua also fighting on the same bill as he takes on Otto Wallin.

Saturday's bout will be Wilder's first since a first-round knockout of Robert Helenius in October 2022, while Parker has already fought three times this year, overcoming Jack Massey, Faiga Opelu and Simon Kean.

Wilder is reportedly close to agreeing a two-fight deal with Joshua for 2024, but Parker is confident he can deal a fatal blow to his hopes of facing the Brit on Saturday.  

"When I beat him, then we're going to have a great 2024. When I beat him, I'm going to be celebrating on the flight back home," Parker told Stats Perform.

"I've had the best preparation for this fight. Like I said before, I started off in Ireland where we have a great setup. We've got a nice gym that we use, a great house that we stay in. 

"We've got local shops that we go to, butchers that look after us, and we've got the sea right next to us that we jump in every day.

"Then we finished off in England and now we're here in Saudi Arabia. There's nothing more that I could have done to prepare for this fight. I am primed and ready."

With 14 months having passed since Wilder last stepped into the ring, Parker believes the American could struggle to acclimatise on his return to action.

Parker previously spent close to a year out of the ring before losing to Joe Joyce last September, and he says that absence impacted his performance.

"I feel like being out of the ring for a long time can definitely have an impact on performance, but we will soon find out if it's going to have an impact on him or not," he added.

"It did affect me. That's why this year has been a great year, keeping busy, having three fights already and having this fight as my fourth fight. It's going to be a great night for team Parker.

"I feel great. I feel like I've restarted my career but I have all the experience to help me with this new start and constantly learning off Andy [Lee]. Everything is perfect. It's now it's all up to myself to put it all on display on fight night, put it all together."

Former WBO middleweight champion Lee has been preparing Parker for the fight, having also been part of Tyson Fury's team as the Gypsy King overcame Wilder twice in 2020 and 2021.

Asked about the importance of Lee, Parker said: "Andy Lee as my trainer has got all the experience to pass on, being a fighter himself and a champion himself, and he was at the fights when Tyson was fighting Deontay.

"I was there for all three fights myself, it was good to see it in person. It's great to get a bit of advice off Tyson. 

"But ultimately I'm going to be in the ring putting on best performance and I'm going to take care of business myself."

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