Boxing: Joseph Parker and Junior Fa face off after new fight date announced

Boxing: Joseph Parker and Junior Fa face off after new fight date announced

The blockbuster fight between Joseph Parker and Junior Fa will go ahead on the new date of February 27, with both fighters promising to be in top shape.

Previously scheduled for December, the bout was postponed after blood tests revealed Fa was suffering from a health issue that required the 19-0 undefeated prospect to undergo surgery.

Speaking at the press conference today, Fa didn’t disclose the nature of the health issue, saying it was “personal”, but said he will be in the best shape he’s ever been for the fight in February.

Meanwhile, Parker revealed that he underwent surgeries on both his elbows in December and was training with injuries ahead of the original date.

“I’m going to be way better in February – stronger, faster,” Parker said.

Follow the recap of the action below or watch the full press conference above.

Last week a new date has been confirmed for the blockbuster showdown, with the world-ranked Kiwi heavyweights set to clash at Auckland’s Spark Arena on Saturday, February 27.

Previously scheduled for December, the bout was postponed after blood tests revealed Fa was suffering from a health issue that required the 19-0 undefeated prospect to undergo surgery.

The official event doctor appointed for the fight, Dr Dave Renata, confirmed Fa would recover in time.

“Junior’s surgery was a success and he is well and truly on track to be fully fit and in very good health for the rescheduled date on February 27,” Renata said.

Parker’s advisor, David Higgins of Duco Events, was pleased the rescheduled date could be confirmed.

“While the postponement of the fight was disappointing, the most important thing is that both fighters are at their very best – and there are no excuses – when they step into the ring,” Higgins said.

Higgins pointed to the record-setting 2009 showdown between David Tua and Shane Cameron, which was also delayed after Cameron broke his hand during a tune-up fight.

“Interest only grew during the delay and the fight went on to set viewership records that still stand today,” Higgins said.

“And we all saw what happened when a clearly very frustrated David Tua finally got the chance to unleash his fury.”

Former WBO champion and No. 3 contender Parker confirmed he was looking forward to relieving pent-up frustration in what will now be a high-summer showdown between the former amateur protagonists.

“We’d been working really hard to ensure I peaked in December and delivered a performance that would have made the heavyweight division sit up and take notice,” Parker said.

“So it was very disappointing when Junior had to postpone. But these things happen in boxing. The good thing is that Junior is now on track to be 100 percent fit and ready to go in February. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Fa, who is ranked No. 6 by the WBO and 11 by the IBF, is keen to put his health issue behind him and prepare for the biggest fight of his career.

“It is never ideal when these things happen, however I’m happy and relieved to confirm I’m now well and truly back on track,” Fa said.

“I’ve been looking forward to this fight for a long time now, so to once again have a date locked in is great.

“Joseph Parker has held a world title before, so when I beat him, I’ll be a giant step closer to realising my own dream.”

Fa’s manager Mark Keddell said his fighter was fully focussed on being at his peak on 27 February.

“The fact is Junior would not have received a medical clearance to fight in December, so there’s no point wasting any more time and energy on that,” Keddell said.

“We’ve dealt with the issue and moved on. Junior is now in great physical and mental shape. If there is any lingering frustration on the part of Duco and Joseph Parker, that’s their problem. Luckily this will all be sorted out in the ring in 11 weeks’ time. And then Mr Higgins will truly get to experience what disappointment feels like.”

All existing general admission tickets and corporate tickets remain valid for the new date.

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