New Zealand boxer Joseph Parker is out to make a statement in his heavyweight clash against Samoan-born-Australian Alex Leapai in the United States.
Parker’s bout in in Providence, Rhode Island today is the former WBO world champion’s first fight of a three fight deal with British promoter Eddie Hearn.
The 27-year-old takes in a healthy favouritism against Leapai, who is a former world title challenger but has only had one fight in the past 18 months.
After rebounding from back-to-back losses with a devastating knockout win in December, Parker said he did not want this bout to go the distance either.
“A stoppage would be nice, that’s the goal going into every fight.
“I just have to change up the mind set to not only go in there and win, but go in and KO someone and make a statement.
“I want to make that statement, there’s no pressure but I do have to go out there and look good,” said Parker.
Leapai was called in as a late replacement after a deal with American Eric Molina fell over at the last minute.
Despite that, and his lack of activity, the 39-year-old was confident he could pull off an upset.
“I’m fit, I’ve been training for months hoping to get a big fight and Joseph Parker is in for a big shock,” Leapai told the Daily Telegraph.
“I’m going to put him under a lot of pressure from the opening bell. I’m in good shape and I’m ready to give Joseph Parker the toughest night of his life.”
Leapai suffered a convincing fifth round loss when he challenged former champion Wladimir Klitschko for the unified heavyweight titles in 2014.