"I'm not Angry Joe," said Joseph Parker after knocking out Alexander Flores in Christchurch, "just Joe that wanted to prove a point."

To that you could probably add Relieved Joe, but also Slightly Dissatisfied Joe. Parker ticked virtually all the boxes in dispatching Flores near the end of the third round at Horncastle Arena on Saturday but realises following a dramatic evening of boxing which won't make his promoter David Higgins much, if any, money, that there are far bigger tests ahead.

This was always going to be a break-even-type promotion for Higgins as Parker attempted to bounce back from two defeats from the safety of New Zealand, but it was also a virtual no-win scenario for Parker and there was pressure on him to deliver.

Had Flores, a Mexican-American who probably wouldn't be recognised in his own Los Angeles street, taken Parker the distance it would have been seen as a rank failure on the New Zealander's part. A loss would have been catastrophic.


Parker had to stop him and he had to stop him impressively. He did that despite the low blows being the initial talking point because Flores looked technically sound early on and asked Parker a couple of questions with a decent jab and sneaky right-hand counter punch.

Flores, whose professional record now reads 17-2-1, didn't look anywhere near as impressive physically as Parker but had clearly prepared well in sparring against fellow American heavyweights Dominic Breazeale and Andy Ruiz Jr, the latter defeated by Parker for the WBO world championship two years ago.

So he played his part and Parker played his. Now the 26-year-old south Aucklander is eyeing a re-match with Dillian Whyte, a boxer who says he'll fight anyone but who might be wary about facing Parker again so soon after their fight in July which he won by unanimous decision.

Whyte's immediate goal after facing English rival Dereck Chisora in London next weekend is a re-match against Anthony Joshua and as the mandatory challenger to Joshua's WBO title, and a man also promoted by Eddie Hearn, that fight is a distinct possibility for Wembley in April (if the Joshua v Deontay Wilder unification bout isn't made).

There's nothing quite like domestic heavyweight rivalries. Whyte v Joshua 2 will be big, and Joshua v Tyson Fury would be huge if it's made. In New Zealand we haven't seen anything like David Tua v Shane Cameron since that fight in Hamilton nearly 10 years ago but something which could come close is Parker v Junior Fa, a rivalry that is simmering and could come to the boil next year.

The Fa camp find it funny that Parker's team get wound up so easily by the attention the fellow south Aucklander is receiving. Fa is ranked 10th by the WBO and is undefeated after 16 professional fights.

Parker's trainer Kevin Barry brought up Fa's name at the weigh-in when he said the 29-year-old had priced himself out of a fight with Parker and then refused to talk about him at Horncastle Arena, saying: "Don't ask me about Junior Fa, come on. When he fights someone in the top 200 – and I don't say that as a joke [then ask]. Look at the record, look at the names… they need to start testing him. If we're ever going to get a fight together with him they have to put him in with someone who is live.

"No more Fa questions - it's a joke he even gets mentioned in the same breath as Joe."

Fa has laughed about the reaction and said Parker should fight him sooner rather than later or risk facing an improved fighter.

While Fa, taller and heavier than Parker but not as quick, would find his rival a very big challenge, the clash would grip the nation's attention and probably earn both a tidy sum.