British heavyweight Dereck Chisora is keen to fight Joseph Parker next despite the Kiwi boxer failing to deliver an explosive performance against Junior Fa.
Prior to Saturday night’s all-Kiwi clash at Spark Arena, Parker’s UK promoter Eddie Hearn said he wanted to see the type of performance that could have him standing on a mountaintop screaming “Joseph Parker’s back”.
A game Fa ensured Hearn could put away the hiking boots for now as he frustrated Parker with his impressive footwork over 12 rounds, though the former WBO world champion did enough to secure a unanimous decision victory according to the judges who scored it 119-109, 115-113 and 117-111.
No one was disputing the result but Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry admitted the scorecards “flattered us a little bit”. While undoubtedly happy to have his hand raised, the 29-year-old was also quite hard on himself after the final bell.
Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing fuelled speculation immediately after the result by tweeting a picture of Chisora and Parker along with the caption: “One for down the line”.
David Higgins, Parker’s manager, said he would talk to Hearn, perhaps as soon as Sunday, to firm up their future plans.
“David Haye, Chisora’s manager, has been in contact saying ‘yep, we want the fight’. Obviously Eddie Hearn’s on record and has been in touch as well,” Higgins said.
“Tonight was a win, and it was a clear win. Of course there’s stuff to be improved after a year of ring rust. Who knows, Chisora might want the fight even more now.?’
Chisora later confirmed he was keen to meet Parker in the UK. The pair have unfinished business after the Kiwi was forced to pull out of their scheduled clash in 2019 due to a spider bite.
“If we can get Joseph Parker this year, in the next couple of months, we’d be happy for that,” Chisora told Sky Sports. “Right now we are in talks about the fight to be in London.”
Chisora was left unimpressed by Saturday’s night’s display, but noted it was Parker’s first contest for a year.
“The fight was not great,” said Chisora. “The simple reason for that was they didn’t spar a lot. They were not in shape, they didn’t train hard enough. There was no fear factor for both of them.
“Parker did what he needed to win. This was his comeback fight after a year. He’s just getting into his stride, so we’ll see what happens.”
Parker also felt he could perform a lot better.
“Everything was clicking in training, but it just wasn’t the performance we wanted tonight. But a win’s a win,” he said. “[Fa] came in with a game plan, and it made it difficult to catch him properly.
“The goal was to start strong and put pressure on, but he was able to move around the ring very well.”
As eager as he was to make a statement, Parker said Fa’s fleet-footed style was not conducive to a knockout display, confident there would be much more fireworks against the aggressive approach of Chisora, should they come to an agreement.
But after making his first appearance in 12 months, Parker made it clear he wants to stay active, regardless of who he meets next.
“As a team we want to keep busy. I think you saw when we kept busy in those earlier years – 2014, 2015 and 2016 – everything flowed a lot better,” he said. “I guess when you have time out of the ring, you can do all the training and sparring and everything else, but the fights are the most important part.”
“If that fight’s on the cards our camp have all agreed we’d take it. But we’ve got to talk to the promoter to see what the lay of the land is.”
Meanwhile, Barry shot down pre-fight suggestions that Parker may have been looking ahead to Chisora and heaped praise on Fa, in the biggest test of his career, for rising to the occasion.
“No one’s ever seen this Junior Fa before,” Barry said. “I think this is by far his best every performance by a country mile.
“We prepared very well. There was no excuses, we had a good training camp, we knew that he’d be game. I didn’t think he’d be that game but he fought with enormous purpose and he was proud.”