DILLIAN WHYTE has dismissed Joseph Parker’s claims he intends to “go to war” when they fight on Saturday in London.
The rival heavyweights fight to secure a rematch with Anthony Joshua or a shot at Deontay Wilder, and former WBO champion Parker insists that to do that he will change his style.
When being outpointed by Joshua in March and defeating Hughie Fury last September, Parker used his speed and mobility to fight largely on the back foot, becoming the first to take Joshua the distance by negating his power.
The 30-year-old Whyte possesses perhaps the division’s strongest chin, and is often at his finest when fighting toe-to-toe.
In Whyte’s own defeat by Joshua he fought a completely different fight to Parker, in which he risked Joshua’s biggest punches and was the first to hurt the champion — to the extent that a similar fight on Saturday would give him his greatest chance.
Parker’s speed and abilities mean he had been expected to prepare to outbox his opponent, but in what could prove a gamble with his career, the 26-year-old said: “There’s no ‘hopefully’. I’m here to do damage. To punch with bad intentions.
“He will take a lot of punches. He has talked smack and that is a sign of doubt. He’s trying to convince himself that he’s ready.
“I hope he’s ready to take punches because I will give them. I have a challenger’s mentality. Bring it on.
“He thinks I can’t go to war. Wait and see. Less movement, more punches.”
Defeat for either fighter will come with dreadful timing, when both are so close to challenging one of the division’s biggest names and while both Joshua and Wilder are short of convincing options.
Should Whyte succeed in hurting his opponent he will also have made a significant statement in achieving something Joshua could not, but he still does not expect the New Zealander to take such a risk.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know talk and action are two different things,” he said. “Let’s see what he brings.
“If he comes to fight like he says, he gets knocked out. I always try to bring the pain and end fights in bad fashion.
“I want to be the first to hurt him. It’ll be pure pain.”
Parker’s promoter David Higgins was regardless adamant that his fighter cannot rely on the ringside judges giving him a decision, as he also implied before Joshua inflicted his only defeat.
“Parker has to fight Dillian and the officials,” he said.” Even (Whyte’s promoter) Eddie Hearn said the refereeing for the Joshua fight was a disgrace. Parker will finish things by knockout.”