Zach Parker (22-1, 16 KO’s) returns to the ring this Saturday night on the undercard of Zhilei Zhang’s rematch with Joe Joyce.
After sitting patiently at the top of the WBO super middleweight rankings for over two years, Parker badly broke his hand early in his interim title fight with John Ryder last November and was withdrawn by his corner after just four rounds. Ryder took the belt and went on to fight Canelo Alvarez for the undisputed super middleweight title earlier this year.
He may have a loss on his record but Parker’s confidence hasn’t been affected by the outcome of his fight with Ryder. Parker kept a close eye on the 168lb division whilst his hand was healing and hasn’t seen anything to shake his belief that he is still one of the best in the division.
“It [the division] is all tied up with Canelo at the moment. You see John Ryder go against him and you can see he’s on the down now. I think you can see age is catching up with him. I think I could have caused him a lot of problems but everything happens for a reason. It happens in sport doesn’t it?” Parker told 32Red.
“Styles make fights and John gave a really good account of himself [against Canelo]. My fight with him was just playing out the way I wanted it to but you can’t help getting injured. I think I’m still up there with the top guys. I think losing might be a good thing for me. I’ll fight anybody now. Once you lose your ‘0’ you get better chances.”
Parker, 29, is well aware that he needs to reintroduce himself to boxing fans and wipe away the memory of the disappointing end to the fight with Ryder. He aims to begin the process with an eye-catching performance this weekend and will then launch another attack on the world rankings and this time he isn’t limiting himself to the 168lb division. His team are already exploring options at light heavyweight and one of the names they have targeted is former world title challenger, Anthony Yarde.
“I said I’d take it in a heartbeat,” Parker said. “I’ve always said I’ll move up in weight at some point. I’m massive at super middleweight so I’ll keep my options open, see what Neil [Marsh, his manager] and Frank [Warren, his promoter] can get their hands on and go from there.
“Caleb Plant’s had another loss against David Benevidez. There’s the Benevidez fight. Even going to light heavyweight, there are a lot of fights up there. I’m keeping my options open.
“Talk is cheap though. You need to back it up. I’ll get a couple of wins on my record and then I’ll be back with the top lads. I wasn’t number one for almost three years for no reason. I think I’ll get better chances now and there are big fights out there for me.”