Zach Parker says he is not interested in sitting around to wait for his shot at Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and says he hopes his elevation to No 1 in the WBO super-middleweight rankings will encourage some of his domestic rivals to get in the ring with him.
The unbeaten Derby fighter faces Sherzod Khusanov at the Royal Albert Hall in west London on Saturday night, Parker’s first fight since he was elevated to top spot by the WBO. But with Alvarez targeting a fight with Caleb Plant to become undisputed champion, the 27-year-old is unlikely to get his chance any time soon.
“Canelo is on a path to be undisputed, so I am not just going to sit around, I want to take all these fights – John Ryder, Chris Eubank Jr, Rocky Fielding,” Parker said. “I will even go abroad and fight. I’m not scared to fight anyone. All these guys who say they want to fight Canelo, well, I’m the No 1 so they have to go through me.”
Parker made quite an impression on Frank Warren in his first fight since signing with the promoter with a two-round demolition of Vaughn Alexander at the BT Sport Studios in March. Now the promoter is keen to keep him busy to build his profile.
“He was totally under the radar but he can fight,” Warren said. “I had not seen much of him before we signed him, but he is a big powerful guy who can box and has some real power on his punches. I like him.”
Parker is looking for a similarly impressive display against Khusanov. The Uzbek is 41, but has a serious pedigree and twice won medals at the World Amateur Championships. He will also be seeing this as a last chance to make is big as a professional.
“I want to please the fans every time I box, I want to go for knockouts, I want to perform,” Parker said. “Last time was a new promoter, a new TV network, I had a lot of pressure on me and I was promoted to being the main fight on the bill. I dealt with it quite well.
“Khusanov has got a good pedigree, boxed at the Olympics twice, World Amateur Championships silver medallist and he is going to come and take my No 1 spot. I’ve got to make sure I am on my game and do a job on him.
“They say a dog on his last legs is the most dangerous. He is going to bring it and I want to stop him.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.