It's hot in London. This great old city is in the grip of a heatwave, which, combined with the influx of tourists and the political protestors around Parliament Square makes it feel like a tinderbox ready to ignite.

It's so hot that, believe it or not, fish are having to be rescued from the tributaries of the Thames due to the rising water temperatures and lack of oxygen.

There have been reported water temperatures of 28degC when the normal maximum is 22degC. The air temperatures are expected to rise to 34degC this week – the hottest of the year.

All of which serves as a fitting backdrop to Joseph Parker's fight against Dillian Whyte in the city on Sunday morning NZT.

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Already determined to bounce back with a "redemption"-type performance against Whyte following the disappointment of his defeat to Anthony Joshua in Cardiff in April, the flames have been stoked further by the Englishman's "coward" taunts (for Parker being apparently satisfied with a points loss) and the sense that there is a harder edge to the New Zealander which has developed over his more than 100 rounds of sparring in a bit over four weeks at his Las Vegas camp.

His sparring partners, including friend Malik Scott, have worn plenty of leather as they have mimicked Whyte's come-forward, free-wheeling style and it's an aggression that Parker will have to display at the O2 Arena if he is to rebound and keep himself relevant in the heavyweight division.

And, such is Whyte's drawing power here – the 22,000 arena is a sellout – that a knockout victory or even a clear and entertaining points victory would allow Parker to hook bigger sport down the line.

"They've been taking a lot of punches in camp," Parker said of his training partners. "You can sense it after sparring. They've been holding their bodies."

He added: "I've shown a lot more mongrel – punching people in the balls, anywhere. I was doing everything I could to hurt the other person. At the end of the camp, in sparring sessions, I wanted to break their ribs. It's not a nice thing to say but… I wanted to bash people so hard I wanted to see them on the ground screaming."

Parker's trainer and Las Vegas housemate Kevin Barry has seen the difference. "A lot of people have said 'Joe is a really chilled guy and not much fazes him', well, he is a chilled guy, he's very relaxed... [but] I know that Joe is also a very proud man and I know there's a little fire lit in his stomach," Barry told the Herald. "He has a point to prove here."

Joseph Parker plays a guitar in Soho, London.
Joseph Parker plays a guitar in Soho, London.

The insults will probably continue from Whyte this week and while Parker will affect an air of indifference, they could get under his skin. Will it matter on fight night? Who is to say? Parker did well against Joshua in the verbal department but it didn't seem to make much difference in front of 80,000 people at the Principality Stadium.

"He talks a whole lot of rubbish," Parker said of Whyte, who was knocked out by Joshua in late 2015. "He's definitely a gold medallist in talking crap. I wouldn't even get silver – I'd be way down in bronze.

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"For me it's not natural but for him it is… he's been stabbed and shot and lived in the hood and all that.

"I think when we go to the highest level there's a difference in our results. I can examine the fight and improve on the beginning and end of the fight with Joshua but he can only improve the beginning because he didn't see the last rounds."

There was a coolness too in Parker after training today when he ventured the short distance from his hotel to Soho to visit the guitar shop which houses various expensive and famous instruments, including one of Princes' - purple of course.

A talented musician as well as puglist, Parker strummed along in near perfect sync with the shop's manager. "It's a bit of fun and a change from the gym," Parker said. "It's refreshing."

Barry said of his 26-year-old charge who can flick the fight switch on and off like few others: "I think Joe wants to prove something to himself and that means more to him than anything else."

For details of the fight coverage in NZ on Sunday morning, go to: https://fanpass.co.nz/ppv/whyte-v-parker
https://www.sky.co.nz/parker-fight-competition