Joseph Parker resets retirement clock

Heavyweight reveals new timeline in brutal game as he looks to start 2023 with a bang in Manchester. By Duncan




Stuff NZ Newspapers


Joseph Parker has reset his retirement clock and says he will hang up his gloves by the time he is 35. The 31-year-old starts 2023 with a fight against British cruiserweight Jack Massey in Manchester today. An unexpected loss would likely alter his plans, but the former WBO heavyweight champion believes he still has ‘‘two to three years’’ left if he can continue to compete at the elite level of the division. A world champion at just 24, Parker would likely have retired this year, previously stating he would happily quit by 31 with his faculties intact and clever management of his millions in earnings providing a happy future out of the ring. But the intervention of the Covid pandemic has meant just four fights in the last three years and caused him to rethink. ‘‘I think Covid changed the plans for a lot of people,’’ Parker told the Sunday Star-Times from Manchester. ‘‘I still feel like I have a lot to give, but I don’t want to be in this game for too long. For the time that I do have in this game, I just want to give it all I have. I just turned 31, I feel old,’’ he laughed. ‘‘There’s no chance of me fighting past 35 . . . two to three years of solid work and giving it everything I have.’’ Parker is in another rebuilding phase after suffering the first knockout loss of his career at the hands of Britain’s Joe Joyce in Manchester last September. It was a brutal toe-to-toe fight and came on the back of two bruising wins against Dereck Chisora. Parker doesn’t want to become a punching bag in the twilight of his career and says he will know when his time is up. But he believes he can make another run at a world title fight. ‘‘There’s no point in me fighting and taking a lot of damage. In boxing, you have to be on your game when you are at the top level. These guys are hard fighters and Joyce is one tough man. ‘‘It was a hard, tough last fight, and it will be good to start the year off fresh. ‘‘I freshened up. I had a few bruises . . . it looked like I was badly injured, but I did heal up quite fast and it was nice to spend time with the family. I was looking at being out again in December, but we worked out that January was a better option.’’ He wants to get busy again and getting a January fight allows him the chance to make a flying start to the year. ‘‘In a perfect year, I have this fight and get a good win and have another two fights,’’ Parker said. ‘‘I’d dream of four fights a year, but if I could have three fights, that would be amazing. As long as I keep winning there will be bigger fights out there. There are a lot of fights to be made ... Joe Joyce, Dillian White or Anthony Joshua.’’