EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Nelson tells AMAZING STORY of SAMOAN SPARRING for Jimmy Thunder fight

Joe Hewlett 30/03/2018
Johnny Nelson

Anthony Joshua heads into Saturday night as the overwhelming favourite to become the unified heavyweight champion of the world.

The Brit will enter the ring to contest in his sixth world title fight since producing a devastating performance of Charles Martin to become IBF world champion.

One man who isn’t a stranger to competing in world title fights is Johnny Nelson. The fighter-turned-presenter shares the longest reigning cruiserweight world champion of all time alongside Marco Huck, making thirteen defences of his WBO crown.

Speaking ahead of the clash at the Principality Stadium, Nelson spoke of his hilarious experience in New Zealand back in 1993 as he defeated Jimmy Thunder for the WBF heavyweight title.

Nelson exclusively told World Boxing News: “Parker is of Samoan descent, he’s tough. I’ve boxed a Samoan in New Zealand called Jimmy Thunder, the guy was tough.

“When I got to New Zealand, this Samoan guy came to my hotel and asked me if I needed any sparring before my fight. When you go into someone’s backyard you want to show them as little as possible, but you want to train.

“I get out there, I don’t want to go to their designated area, but he asked me if I wanted to train and I’m two weeks out before my fight.

“So, we got there, drove to his house and there was a garage and under the house there was a ring. I was thinking I’m fighting for the WBF heavyweight title, it was a big deal over there, I’d never heard of it.

“And this guy was all over the posts and I’m thinking s***, have I got it wrong here? I’ve never heard of Jimmy Thunder but he’s like Joseph Parker, MASSIVE!

“So, we got in this garage, loads of massive Samoan heavyweights were sitting down ringside and wanting to spar with me, I thought f*** I’m fighting in 12 days – I can’t spar with all these lot, how do I deal with this?

“I got told ‘just blast them Johnny because you don’t want to be stuck with him doing 15, 20 rounds with these guys.’ I think they were trying to do Jimmy a favour and report back to him.

“As soon as we got into it, instead of warming up during the first round or two, I went BANG BANG BANG, and got rid of the first within a minute.

“One after one after one I did the same thing. When it came to the fight, they were all sat there with cuts and bruises.”

Sky Sports Box Office will exclusively show the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker unification fight on 31 March. Available to buy now at https://www.sky.com/boxoffice.

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95