Joseph Parker’s 34th professional bout will also be a career first for the former WBO world heavyweight champion.
Parker’s return to the ring against Jack Massey next Sunday will be the first time one of parker’s bouts has been broadcast on free-to-air TV in New Zealand, with the bout to be shown on Three.
The bout – Parker’s first since being stopped by Joe Joyce last September – will see the 31-year-old welcome Massey to the heavyweight division. The 29-year-old British boxer has amassed a 20-1 record as a cruiserweight, with this being his first foray into the heavier class. The fight is on the undercard of the middleweight bout between Chris Eubanks Jr and Liam Smith, and takes place at Manchester Arena.
Massey comes into the fight as a known quantity, having sparred six rounds with Parker at a training camp hosted by WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury. However, it is a big step up for Massey; Parker holds a top-10 position in the WBO, WBC and The Ring heavyweight rankings.
“Good on Jack for stepping up to take this fight,” said Parker. “He’s a tough guy who is very skilful and he clearly backs himself. But unfortunately for him, he has made a huge mistake. I’ve got a point to prove and he is standing in my way.”
Parker’s manager David Higgins said the move to free-to-air was a great chance for Kiwi sports fans to see the nation’s most successful boxer while he was still in his prime.
“Because he has achieved so much it is easy to forget that Joseph is still just 31,” said Higgins.
“But for a heavyweight, that means his best years are still ahead of him. This is an important fight for Joseph against a tough opponent as he looks to get the ball rolling for a huge year in 2023.”