Joseph Parker opponent named for Dec 15 comeback

Ringside 18/10/2018

Lawrence Lustig

Hammer-fisted American-Mexican heavyweight prospect Alexander ‘The Great’ Flores has vowed to make his own stunning imprint on the planet by shocking former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker at Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena on December 15.

“There is no way this fight goes 10 rounds,” the 17-1 Flores says. “I’m going to knock him out.”

Flores has the puncher’s record to suggest that is no idle boast. No fewer than 15 of the Roy Jones Jr-promoted slugger’s 17 wins have come via the stoppage. The 28-year-old’s lone defeat came at the hands of former IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin in a North American Boxing Association title fight in 2014.

Flores took the fight against the dangerous southpaw Martin at two weeks’ notice and paid the price, suffering the only blemish on his record.

Martin’s victory set up a successful tilt at the IBF crown vacated by Tyson Fury, and a subsequent unification date with Anthony Joshua.

Flores, meanwhile, has rebounded from his reverse to Martin with three straight knockout victories in the rugged fighting hub of Tijuana, Mexico.

He also served as a sparring partner for Andy Ruiz Jr ahead of his fellow American-Mexican’s WBO world title showdown with Parker in Auckland.

Flores – who believes the Parker-Ruiz fight was a close contest that should have gone his compatriot’s way – is in no doubt it is now his time to shine on the global stage.

“A lot of people might not have heard of Alexander ‘The Great’ yet – but they’ll all know who I am after December 15.”

Parker’s promoter David Higgins of Duco Events admitted he was extremely nervous about the contest.

“With Joseph coming off two straight defeats – however unlucky – a third defeat would be catastrophic for his career,” Higgins said. “Alexander’s undoubted punching power makes this an extremely dangerous assignment for Joseph – so it is fair to say I am the most nervous I have ever been before a fight.”

Parker, who began his training camp in Las Vegas two weeks ago, said he respected the danger posed by Flores but was confident in his own ability.

“I’m really glad that Alex is coming to New Zealand full of confidence,” Parker said. “For me boxing is all about the challenge – and this is another big one. I know what is stake, I need to win and win well. I need to knock him out and I will knock him out. But I can’t focus on that. I need to focus on getting better each and every time I get in the ring.”

Team Parker head trainer Kevin Barry said he was both nervous and excited following the confirmation of Flores as his fighter’s opponent.

“After a five-year undefeated run that took Joe all the way to the WBO World Title, we now find ourselves in very unusual territory, coming off back-to-back loses. Joe has never been in this position before and needs a top performance. Joe finds himself under huge pressure to not only to win this fight, but to win big and get his career back on track

“We’ve known for some time it was likely to be Flores and it is great to have that confirmed,” Barry said. “These guys are the same height and they both pack a serious punch, so it stacks up as a great contest. That’s great for boxing fans – and Canterbury boxing fans in particular.

“This is a dangerous fight. A fight where Joseph Parker is fighting for his career.”

Barry expected his fellow Cantabrians to pack out Horncastle Arena for the fight.

“Christchurch is really getting back on its feet and this great night of world class sport is another reflection of that,” he said. “The support of ChristchurchNZ, Vbase, Christchurch Casino and Christchurch Airport has been crucial in enabling Joseph to return to the city for his homecoming fight on New Zealand soil, and I know his fans will turn out in force to welcome him home.”

Loren Heaphy, ChristchurchNZ General Manager – Destination & Attraction says visitors to the city’s new CBD will be in for a treat.

“Visitors to the city will be spoilt for choice this summer with much to explore and experience in our piece of paradise,” Heaphy says.

“After the fight, why not recall the stunning highlights of Parker’s homecoming fight over drinks and dinner on Victoria Street or The Terraces then explore the many gems of our vibrant city centre at your leisure.”

Turlough Carolan, Acting Sales and Marketing Manager, Vbase, said: “Vbase is delighted to be welcoming Joseph and the Duco team back to Horncastle Arena for the 15 December bout. We have very fond memories of Joseph’s last visit to Christchurch back in July 2016 which helped us build a solid relationship with David Higgins and the Duco team. The fruits of which we’ll see in December and also the Black Clash event at Hagley Oval on 25 January.”

Joseph Parker v Alexander Flores

Horncastle Arena, Christchurch, December 15
In association with ChristchurchNZ, Vbase, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch Casino and The Rock
Tickets on sale Thursday 25th October 10.00am through Ticketek from $39
To be screened on SKY Arena $39.95
Official charity partner: Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand