Joseph Parker is addressing his reputation for being a clean fighter after being accused to lacking "mongrel" in his defeat to Dillian Whyte.

Should his next opponent Alexander Flores employ the questionable tactics that Englishman Whyte was allowed to get away with during his unanimous decision victory over Parker in London in July, then the New Zealander will respond in kind.

Whyte clearly hit Parker on the back of the head, attempted to wrestle him over the ropes and constantly pushed him down and while Parker may not need to counter such tactics against American Flores at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena on December 15, he will be ready should he have to.

"Being nice outside the ring and being nice in the ring doesn't work, so if I have to punch him low I will, if I have to elbow him in the face I will," Parker said in Las Vegas as he puts the finishing touches on his camp. "Now it's not about talking about it, I'm going to be about it.

Advertisement

"Come fight night if he tries to do any dirty tricks, I will counter with dirtier ones.

"A lot of people questioned if I could be a mongrel with the Dillian Whyte fight, so with this training camp, if you ask the sparring partners, I've hit them down here [points to groin], tripped them up, thrown them around the ring."

Parker, sporting a graze on his nose from a sparring session, added: "I feel it's something we have to do. You not only have to box smart, you have to be ruthless in the ring."

Joseph Parker's next opponent Alexander Flores. Photo / Photosport
Joseph Parker's next opponent Alexander Flores. Photo / Photosport

His trainer Kevin Barry said he had apologised to Parker's sparring partners but that it was necessary to train for all scenarios.

"We all knew in the last fight against Dillian Whyte he was a rough guy but I don't [think] we realised to what extent and to what extreme he would go to," Barry said. "And also what the officials would let him get away with.

"Joe and I sat down and had a heart to heart about that and I said to him … 'this camp it's no holds barred'. And I said to the sparring partners before we started 'just so you know, sparring is going to get a little bit physical'.

"I've had Joe hitting his sparring partners to just about every part of their body. I've had him taking guys to the floor, I've had him with his forearm choking guys – stuff we've never done before.

"To be completely honest, a lot of things I've taught Joe over the years and trained for in the gym – he's never felt that that's been part of his game but after the Whyte fight he's felt he has to add that to his game, that 'I've got to be giving it back' … and we saw in the Whyte fight that he simply didn't.

Advertisement

"No one will ever treat him like that again."

Parker, on a comeback after two successive defeats, is keen to fight Whyte again but Barry questioned the standard of officiating in the United Kingdom and is worried it could put some boxers off wanting to fight there.

"The UK are turning into the old Germany," he said. "People would never go to Germany because they would never get a decision there and because the tactics for years were illegal. The UK are pushing it to the extreme allowing fighters to use those dirty tactics."

Patrick McKendry travelled to Las Vegas with assistance from Flooring Xtra, a major sponsor to the Parker v Flores fight at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena on December 15.