Liam Napier takes a look through five key aspects that could decide the fight.
Stand tall, be long, use the leavers
Fa commands an 11cm reach advantage, is 3cm taller, and must use every inch to keep Parker at bay for 12 rounds. While Parker possesses the superior hand speed over most, if not all, heavyweight contenders and has performed strongly against tall opponents such as Alexander Dimitrenko, Fa likewise moves well for an 118kg athlete. To secure victory Fa's best option is to adopt a classic big man approach – promote his jab to hit and not be hit. In the corners, Fa should use his near 10kg weight advantage to lean on Parker when the opportunity presents. This tactic is ugly from a spectacle point of view but can help tire opponents.
Coming off three victories over underwhelming opponents Parker has made no secret that he's chasing a statement performance. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn issued instructions for Parker to deliver a commanding knockout that would further elevate his appeal in the lucrative UK audience, particularly with a bout against Dereck Chisora well flagged. Parker has claimed 72 per cent (21 of 27) of his victories by knockout, but his power against quality opposition has been questioned in recent times. Fa's last two wins came via unanimous decision – and he has only won 52 per cent of his bouts (10 of 19) by KO. Parker has a solid chin, too, so if there is to be a knockout result, expect him to deliver it.
Ring rust is a real factor for both fighters. Parker has been out of the ring for almost a year to the day since stopping little-known American Shawndell Winters in five rounds last February. Fa's last victory came over Devin Vargas in Salt Lake City in November, 2019. Sparring helps prepare boxers but nothing compares to stepping in the ring on fight night. It may, therefore, take both fighters a couple of rounds to warm into their work. There is little to be gained by taking major risks straight from the opening bell.
One major difference between Parker and Fa is their resumes and experience. While Parker fought, and lost to, Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, the latter after suffering an early headbutt, and beat Andy Ruiz Jr and Carlos Takam in tight contests, Fa has not defeated anyone of note. This is easily the biggest occasion of Fa's career. Parker knows what it's like to headline major cards, to walk out at packed arenas and deal with the pressure that comes with those expectations. Fa has not experienced the same bright lights, the same intense glare and atmosphere. Will that fuel him, or could he freeze? It's one of the great unknowns.
The desire for victory could burn stronger within Fa. Parker won a world title with his victory over Ruiz in 2016, and there have been suggestions he has not reached that same level since, despite defending the WBO crown twice against sparring partner Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury, the latter in an ugly contest. Whether the same hunger stirs within Parker to scrap his way back to the pinnacle of the sport, only he knows. As the A side fighter, Parker also has the safety blanket of a rematch clause. The amateur rivalry should help light the fuse for Parker on this occasion but with this being the most important fight of Fa's career, one which offers possibly his only chance to announce his presence on the global scene, there can be no questioning his motivation.