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The New Zealand grudge match between Joseph Parker and Junior Fa has been rescheduled to December 12 at Auckland’s Spark Arena. (photo by photosport)
The fight was set down for Friday, December 11 – but the organizers wanted to avoid a conflict with All Blacks’ Rugby Championship fixture.
It took several months for a deal to get finalized, with both sides haggling over money and even the brand of gloves.
Parker and Fa collided four times in the amateurs, with each boxer securing two wins.
The fight will be carried by DAZN in the United States, while New Zealand will distribute the fight on pay-per-view.
Parker, a former WBO heavyweight champion, last fought in February, when he scored a TKO win over Shawndell Winters in Texas.
Fa, with an unbeaten 19-0 record, picked up a unanimous decision win over Devin Vargas in November of last year.
Both are ranked in the WBO’s top ten.
Parker views the contest was a must-win situation – as a loss to the untested Fa would seriously damage his career.
“There are lots of reasons to shift this once-in-a-generation event from Friday to Saturday night,” said Parker’s promoter Dave Higgins to Newshub.
“We originally decided against Saturday, as there was a strong possibility that the show would conflict with an All Blacks test match. Knowing how keen all Kiwis will be to see these two great heavyweights sort our their long-standing rivalry, as well as support the All Blacks, a clash between two massive sport events was a scenario we were keen to avoid.
“This is the biggest heavyweight contest in New Zealand history and we think it has the chance to break the current New Zealand pay-per-view record.”
Junior Fa is confident he will be fit and ready for the rescheduled all-Pasifika heavyweight clash against Joseph Parker.
The fight was set to take place on December 12 but has been postponed after Fa discovered he needed surgery.
Duco’s David Higgins confirmed the new date will be either late February or early March.
“I’ll be honest I was gutted when I was told I wouldn’t fight…I could feel the drop off in my performance,” he told media today.
“I’ve had a week to get over that and focus on a new possible date. I’m focused on getting back to 100 percent for training.”
Fa’s manager Mark Keddell said Fa suffered an ‘internal issue’.
“It’s about getting Junior back in the ring as quick as possible,” Keddell said.
“Junior’s essentially had an injury and he’s going to have a routine operation,”
Keddell said, and, while the news was “devastating”, he didn’t see it affecting his fighter’s chances.
“He’s in amazing shape,” Keddell said. “He’s at his fight weight, he’s got a six pack, it’s just one of those things.”
Keddell said while Fa will lose some aerobic conditioning during the lay-off, he was coming from a strong base and his power will only increase during the break.
Duco owner and Parker’s manager, David Higgins, on Friday notified sponsors, broadcasters and key stakeholders about the decision.
“It’s one of those things where you just have to roll with the punches, if you’ll excuse the horrible pun,” he said. “Boxing has a long history of this and often the delay creates even better events. You’ve got to look for silver linings.”
The fight is important for Parker (27-2) who has strung together three wins of varying quality since losing back-to-back bouts with Britons Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
If it was important to Parker it was critical to Fa (19-0), who at 30 has not gained the traction in the heavyweight rankings that his unbeaten record suggests he should have, due mainly to the nondescript quality of most of his opponents.
While the Fight of the Century puff is pure boxing hyperbole, it is not an exaggeration to say this was a career-defining fight for Fa and a career-crossroads match for Parker.
“Joseph is in terrific shape,” Higgins said. “After close to a year of training and waiting, I imagine Joseph will have some fury to unleash on Junior Fa when they get in the ring next year.”
The fight was not just highly anticipated as a sporting contest but also as a boost to an events industry that has received a standing eight count as a result of the pandemic that has wormed its way across the globe.
Several high-profile sports events and festivals have already been cancelled this year, including the ASB Classic, the Piha Pro surfing contest, and music events like Laneway.
The big all-New Zealand clash between heavyweights Joseph Parker and Junior Fa has been confirmed for Friday, Dec. 11, live on DAZN.
Former WBO champion Parker (27-2, 21 KOs) and the undefeated Fa (19-0, 10 KOs) are ranked third and sixth in the WBO rankings, respectively, and the winner of their fight at the Spark Arena in Auckland will stand a good chance of earning a shot in 2021.