Undefeated Kiwi heavyweight prospect Junior Fa will take on Argentine former world cruiserweight title contender Rogelio Omar Rossi in the main undercard bout of the Joseph Parker v Alexander ‘The Great’ Flores fight night at Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena on December 15.
The giant Fa, who is 15-0 and ranked No. 10 by the WBO, will use the bout to show he deserves a shot at compatriot Parker, the recently deposed WBO heavyweight champion.
“This is a huge opportunity for me for sure,” Fa said from Tusca Loosa, United States, where he is sparring with Deontay Wilder to help the WBC champion prepare for a blockbuster showdown with Tyson Fury on December 1.
“I’m going to grab it with both hands.”
An impressive display from Fa would put him on a collision course with Kiwi rival Parker, Fa’s manager Mark Keddell said.
“Junior is going to show the world what he can do and serve notice to Joseph Parker that he is coming for him,” Keddell said.
“He’s beaten him before and he will beat him again.”
Fa and Parker squared their amateur contests two wins apiece. While Parker’s professional career followed a fast track to the WBO title, Fa’s has been more of a slow burn.
“Junior has taken a path through America rather than through New Zealand like Joseph did,” Keddell said.
“Their paths are now converging.
“Joseph has done incredibly well and everyone has a huge amount of respect for him. But there are holes in his game. Everyone can see that. When the time is right, Junior will expose those holes. But for now he is concentrating on the jobs in hand – testing himself against the most dangerous fighter on the planet – and then taking care of Rossi.
“We’ve got a couple of massive things in the pipeline for Junior. When they are done we’ll turn our attention to Joseph Parker.”
A tricky southpaw, Rossi (20-6-1) challenged Marko Huck for the WBO world cruiserweight title in 2011. He lost that fight after being struck by Huck after the bell in the fifth round.
Parker’s promoter, David Higgins of Duco Events, said the time had come for Fa to put up or shut up.
“Junior is hugely talented but he has blown hot and cold as a professional fighter,” Higgins said.
“He’s earned this chance to step up onto the big stage in Christchurch on December 15. Let’s see what he does with it. He’s now ranked 10 by the WBO so let’s see if he can justify that ranking.”
Higgins said he was open to a potential Parker v Fa showdown.
“If Junior can prove he is worthy of a shot at Joseph then he’ll get his shot,” Higgins said. “He’s not quite there yet, but he’s also not that far off.”
Parker welcomed Fa’s presence on the undercard of his homecoming fight in New Zealand following three blockbuster fights in the United Kingdom.
“We did have a rivalry as amateurs but a lot has changed since then,” Parker said. “As I’ve always said, I’ll fight whoever my team put in front of me. Right now that is Alex Flores and that is who I am focussing on.
“I’m fighting a guy with just one loss and 15KOs – so I can’t afford to take my eye off the ball.”
More major undercard announcements should be expected soon, Higgins said.
“This is shaping up as the biggest night of boxing in Christchurch’s history,” Higgins said. “I’d encourage people – wherever they are in the county – to make plans to get there sooner rather than later. It is not a night you’ll want to miss out on.”
Parker v Flores is presented in association with ChristchurchNZ, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch Casino and VBase.
Tickets are on sale now from $39 from www.ticketek.co.nz