Fury cosies up with Parker

Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury reveals he's been an avid follower of Joseph Parker's boxing career.

Joseph Parker may be fighting Tyson Fury's younger cousin but that has not stopped the former world heavyweight champion from taking aim at the Kiwi's UK-based critics.

Parker takes his first step towards cracking the lucrative British market when he puts his WBO heavyweight title on the line against Hughie Fury in Manchester on September 23. And it appears he has some convincing to do judging by the luke-warm reception he's received by some pundits in England.

With three of Parker's last five victories coming via decision, several have questioned whether he has the punching power to compete with fellow champions Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.

The 25-year-old did himself no favours with a lacklustre performance last time out against Razvan Cojanu, which was put together on short notice after Hughie Fury withdrew due to a back injury. 

 Although, the decisions over Carlos Takam and in the title fight with Andy Ruiz Jr were both earned against two extremely durable boxers, with the latter yet to be dropped in 30 professional bouts.

And Fury, the controversial British star who shocked the world when he upset Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, suggested Parker's problems were more due to the quality of opponents he was up against, rather than an inability to finish fights early.

"Styles make fights and it’s not easy to knockout people who are moving around and not there to be knocked out," Fury said. "It's easy to knock over dummies who want to be knocked over and when its real opponents fighting back, it’s not so easy so you've got to get used to doing the rounds and if the knockout comes, it comes."

Fury should know. He has been closely following Parker's career since his amateur days and has watched all 23 of his professional fights, 18 which were won by knockout.

The 28-year-old admires Parker's attitude towards the sport and hit out at those who diminish his achievements given he won a belt vacated by Fury, as opposed to dethroning a champion.

He was, however, quick to highlight the fact that Parker would not be in this position if it was not for him.

"The thing is, no one has beat the man who beat the man apart from me. So all the champions of today, without disrespecting them all, they're only champions because of my achievement in Germany," Fury said.

"If I didn't relieve Klitschko of all them belts in Duesseldorf then he'd probably still have them today. But it was a monopoly and it was about time somebody done it, so I'm happy all the belts have been spread out all over the world."

As for his own career, Fury is back in training but is unlikely to return to the ring anytime soon.

He has not fought since cementing his place in boxing history by handing Klitschko his first defeat in 11 years. 

He vacated his WBO and WBA boxing titles in October after admitting to cocaine use, and has yet to receive clearance to box again, while he has also struggled with personal issues.

Fury is hopeful of resuming his career but to do so he must overcome his toughest opponent yet - himself.

"It's not about me at the moment. I'm just enjoying the moment watching Hughie fight," Fury said. 

"I've had my moment in the sun and hopefully I will get another chance further down the line. But to be honest, there's one fight for me at the moment, and that battle is against me own self which goes further than boxing any opponent.  

"My battle is getting motivated to train and want to fight and do all the right things. But I know on any given night, on my night, I'm capable of beating most people in the world.

"Money ain't the motivation and to chuck it around and throw it in the sky and chuck it at some strippers, it ain't really my style. 

"I can only do damage to my reputation by coming back unprepared and unfit for money."  

Fury was scheduled to come to New Zealand before his cousin's withdrawal but a visit remains on the cards.

He has links to the country and if he does return to the sport he may well bring the Tyson Fury experience to these shores.

"It's a place I've wanted to go to for a long time. I've got a couple of cousins who were born in New Zealand so I would like to go over and visit them. I'd like to box there, maybe in the future."


Photo: Tyson Fury and Joseph Parker get cozy at a news conference for the Kiwi heavyweight boxer's upcoming fight with the former champ's cousin, Hughie.