Parker jabs Fury's 'identity crisis'

Joseph Parker wonders if Hughie Fury is having an identity crisis as their WBO world heavyweight title fight draws near.

There's a bit of ill-feeling creeping back into the troubled promotion just over a week out from their WBO world heavyweight title fight in Manchester on September 24.

And it's been pretty one-sided with most of the barbs coming from the Fury camp with Hughie labelling Parker a "chump" rather than a champ and questioning the Kiwi's gratitude for the big payday that looms from a fight that was transferred north.

The Fury's have done little to endear themselves to Parker or his bosses after they pulled out of the original date in Auckland last May and the process of finalising details for Manchester dragged on.

Parker told Stuff they haven't got under his skin, rather he's using it all as motivation. But he showed he could counter-punch when it came to a bit of verbal sparring.

"He (Fury) has done a lot of different things in the media, talking and doing this Rambo and Rocky stuff ... maybe he's having a sort of identity crisis, I don't know .. maybe he's mixed up on who he is," Parker jabbed, a blatant reference to Fury's training camp that has seen him running round the hills of Lake Windermere in army fatigues and then punching carcasses in a nearby abattoir.

"He's a boxer who should be preparing to fight. I'm the champion at the moment and I'm going to fight like a champion. I'm here with the belt and I'm taking it back to New Zealand.

"There's a bit of trash talk from their side. If they find confidence from talking themselves up then good on them, carry on. We know what our job is, we don't need to talk, we know that we have put in the work."

The biggest frustration for Parker has been the lack of promotion of the fight in Manchester, supposedly Fury's home base though he has never fought there in his 20 professional fights. That's even been a criticism in Britain over the lack of profile for a genuine world heavyweight contest.

A late broadcasting deal hasn't helped and while ticket sales look to be slowly picking up, it's unlikely the top tier of the impressive Manchester Arena that seats around 9000 will be used. Now the push is on to sell out the 12,000 seats on the ground level and get a decent crowd though they are hardly the sort of numbers reflecting the current British scene which has been labelled the headquarters of the heavyweight division.

Parker has been eager to make his mark on the lucrative UK market and saw this fight as an opportunity to open the door for him. The pre-fight promotion has done little to build his image there ahead of his British debut but that just means he will have to let his gloves do the talking.

"There's been problems with the leadup to the fight ... the promotion. That has given me extra motivation to make a statement," he said.

"Seriously, I haven't knocked out my last two opponents, so I'm looking for a knockout."

Parker sparred six rounds with American Malik Scott on Wednesday, cast his special vote in London for the New Zealand elections and managed to do a bit of sightseeing while he was in city centre for that.

He maintains he is in the best shape of his career and is getting into the rhythm of this final buildup offshore. It's a time where his media commitments are less than for his home fights in New Zealand.

"Yeah, my schedule is not as busy and that's nice," he said.

"The rest is important now. I've done all the work in Las Vegas, it's about getting that rest and eating healthy, eating clean.

"A well-rested fighter is a dangerous fighter and I'm going to have way more time to rest."


Photo by: REUTERS (Caption: Hughie Fury has been chipping away at Joseph Parker in the leadup to their fight in Manchester).