Joseph Parker is well-known to British fans having fought Hughie Fury, Asthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, Derek Chisora, Joe Joyce and Jack Massey is recent years but the Kiwi is much closer to home for his next bout as he travels to Melbourne to take on Aussie Faiga Opelu on Wednesday morning (UK time). We take a look at the fight and the headline odds on Betfred…

31-year-old Parker is looking for a road back to the top table of the Heavyweight division. For a former champion to be travelling away from home to fight a journeyman who has never set foot in the ring with anywhere remotely near his class, it shows that someone is looking to have some warm-up fights to tune up towards another big fight down the road.

A nasty knockout when facing Joe Joyce last September saw Parker’s stock dip considerably. The former WBO Heavyweight Champion was behind on all three scorecards heading into the 11th round when he was finally stopped following a left hook to the chin that he couldn’t get up from. It looked to be the shot that ended his time at the top level of the division but at just 31, he’s looking for that one last shot at the big time.

Tyson Fury has flown in to support his mate and the current World Champion would seemingly love nothing more than to see Parker right back up there fighting the biggest names in the sport. He told a Press Conference ahead of the fight that he expects fireworks and for it to be an entertaining fight.

As for Opelu, with a record of 15-3-2 heading into the fight, he clearly does not have the record of a fighter that can give Parker much of a problem. When his best win is probably a fourth round stoppage of previously undefeated Hemi Ahio, that is not even in the same calibre of opponent that Parker has faced in his career.

When looking at the betting heading into the fight, it should come as no surprise that Parker is an extremely short 1/12 to win, with the Aussie priced up at 6/1 and the Draw available to back at a price of 25/1. These odds reflect the expectation that this is a bout to fine tune Parker’s technique and get him back on solid ground as he works himself back into top shape. Ring Magazine still has him as a top ten fighter in the division so anything other than a comfortable victory would be a big shock.

 

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