Joseph Parker has lifted the lid on his boxing plans for the rest of the year and the emotional toll of training at his Las Vegas base during the birth of his third daughter, Michaela Florence.
Michaela, a sister for Elizabeth, 2, and Shiloh, almost 1, was born in Auckland just over a week ago, meaning Parker has been absent for the births of all three of his children with partner Laine.
Kiwi Parker has been training with Kevin Barry in Las Vegas for the past fortnight as he prepares for a fight overseas either next month or July which will put an end to the heavyweight's longest inactive period of his professional career.
The 27-year-old last fought in December – a knockout victory over Alexander Flores in Christchurch which stopped a run of two losses – and leaving for the United States after an extended time at home was not easy.
"It's a lot harder leaving now," Parker told the Herald. "When I was back in Auckland I went everywhere with my 2-year-old daughter Elizabeth. She's probably thinking 'where is this guy'? The only thing she understands is that daddy has gone on the plane and is working and training and he'll come and see me after.
"Both of our families always come together to help with the kids. [Laine] is very patient and very understanding. She knows I'm doing this for our family. It is hard work for her and the families while I'm away, but I hope it's going to pay off.
"I now have three girls - I'm very lucky."
The former WBO world heavyweight champion remains in the rebuilding phase of his career after his losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in the United Kingdom. He turned down the opportunity to fight Derek Chisora in London recently as a contract hadn't been sent in time but there is a possibility the pair could meet in the ring in July.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Parker said he was hoping to be in New York this weekend for the Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden and that negotiations on a multi-fight deal were continuing. He also said he had entered camp in his best shape ever after a break and that he was keen on re-establishing himself in the division after Deontay Wilder's recent dramatic knockout victory.
"Nothing's locked in yet," Parker said. "We're hoping to be fighting next month or July. But I'm hoping it's next month. It will be nice to have a fight and get back in the swing of things – I'm in great shape, the best shape I've been coming into camp ever.
"I'm a bit more serious about training and keeping in shape during my off time. That's very beneficial coming into camp. I still don't know what's happening [in terms of next fight] but at least I'm starting in the right place – I don't have to lose a lot of weight. I'm enjoying training… before there used to be a lot of volume due to the weight issues. But now we're actually able to focus on things I need to focus on."
The smart money will be on Parker signing a multi-fight deal with Eddie Hearn, but Parker said his representative David Higgins had spoken to a range of promoters.
"David has obviously talked to Bob Arum, he's talked to Eddie Hearn and he's talked to Al Haymon. We've had a co-promotion deal with Bob and he's done some good work with Eddie, so he's just working on what the best option is. We will sign a multi-fight deal with someone."
If and when that is announced, Parker hopes to fight three times before the end of the year.
"If we fight in June it would be nice to fight maybe in September and then maybe December again. It would be nice to have three fights because I haven't been too active this year, but in saying that I've had a great time at home spending time with my family and daughters."