WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker is convinced Hughie Fury is running scared and will use avoiding tactics when the pair finally share a ring in Manchester on September 23.
The New Zealander, making the first defence of his title, believes Fury could be looking past him to a possible meeting with David Haye after the pair met at the Hayemaker Gym as the 22 year-old sparred Olympian Joe Joyce.
Fury had earlier accused Parker of thinking too far ahead after handlers Duco Events held talks with Eddie Hearn to discuss potential future bouts with Tony Bellew, Dillian Whyte and ultimately Anthony Joshua.
On what he expects from Fury in their North West contest, Parker exclusively told World Boxing News: “I’m expecting he’s going to use the ring and run and I will have to chase him down.
“I think it’s amusing Hughie thinks I’m thinking past this fight on September 23. Hughie is gravely mistaken. I have put a massive target on Hughie’s head.
“It’s also good that he believes in himself, but during the stare down in Manchester last month, his eyes gave him away. They told a totally different story and trust me, he’s worried.”
On what came of those meetings with Hearn, Parker reiterated he has a one-track mind and is solely concentrating on Fury.
“I’m not looking past September 23. My 100 percent focus is on Hughie Fury,” he said.
“There are no mega-fights out there unless I get past Hughie Fury,” added Parker.
As Parker’s win over Andy Ruiz Jr. is now a distant memory, the world ruler knows only an impressive triumph over Fury will be sufficient to put him in the mix for those top encounters in the coming months.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay