There was no rendition of American Pie, but Tyson Fury is ready for a slice of the action when his long-time sparring partner Joseph Parker fights Faiga ‘Django’ Opelu on Wednesday night at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena.
The reigning WBC heavyweight champion is in town to support his “brother” in a pivotal bout which will determine the trajectory of Parker’s career moving forward.
“He’s supported me in my career in Las Vegas and all over the world so I’m here supporting him and his fight in Melbourne,” Fury said during Monday’s press conference.
The Brit is expecting “fireworks” in Melbourne and says he’s confident Parker can get back to the top of the world again.
“Joe’s got very good work ethic, he’s got good drive and he wants it,” Fury told Newstalk ZB.
“He’s had a couple of defeats along the way but he’s up there, he’s top-10 ranked in the world and he’s a force to be reckoned with on his night.”
Parker’s nutritionist George Lockhart has also been instrumental in the lead-up to the fight.
“I’ve seen a massive change in Joe. His body shape - I’ve never seen him this ripped before and in as good a shape, so I’m excited for the fight,” said Fury.
The 34-year-old Brit’s star power was on show at Margaret Court Arena, despite being slightly jet-lagged from the trip down under.
“I don’t think I’ve even got the energy to go drinking and that’s very unusual for me,” Fury said.
The Melbourne visit will keep Fury occupied with negotiations stalling with WBA, IBF and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk over an undisputed title fight.
When asked whether an agreement is close, Fury replied: “How long’s a piece of string?”
The Gypsy King’s presence is a much-needed boost to the No Limit Boxing event, following news the main event will no longer be for the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title.
Joseph Parker (left) and Faiga Opelu face off. Photo / Photosport
It’s understood the corner of Opelu pushed for money to increase the fight to 12 rounds for the title, from the initial 10-round agreement that had been signed.
David Higgins, Parker’s longtime manager, expressed his disappointment.
“If you’re a boxer that backs yourself to win, why would you not want to fight for the title?” Higgins queried.
Parker shared the same sentiment but was happy to get back in the ring again.
“The goal is to keep busy. I’ve had one in January, I have one in May, hopefully August and then again in December and the only way to get momentum and to progress is to keep fighting often.”
After his first professional knockout defeat to Joe Joyce last September and a lacklustre win over Jack Massey in January, Parker wants to show he’s got some fight left in him.
“I know everyone’s here to support but I want to prove to myself what I can do.
“Now that I found the right balance, I feel I can go forever.”
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