Joseph Parker's stunning knockout of Alexander Flores has re-established himself as a live force in the heavyweight division.

There will be questions after the third-round stoppage at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena about Flores' quality, but he had clearly prepared well and he asked a few questions of Parker in the first couple of rounds before the emphatic finish.

There was pressure, too, on Parker to deliver in his first fight back in New Zealand for 18 months after two losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in the United Kingdom.

Never mind the low blows, Parker had to stop Flores early to prove he still deserves to be considered among the division's elite, and he did so with a ruthless finish which displayed the 26-year-old's hard edge that has always been there but perhaps has been hidden for the past couple of years.

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['Dirty' Joseph Parker silences critics by not playing nice in knockout win over Alexander Flores]

The New Zealander looked fresh and unmarked afterwards, but Flores' face was a mask of bruises and grazes. A slashing Parker left hand in the final stages had also caused a cut on Flores' right eyebrow.

There was anger in Parker's display and afterwards he looked quietly satisfied rather than overjoyed at the result, as if he has more important business to deal with and sooner rather than later.

Australian Lucas Browne is probably the most likely next opponent for Parker and that is a fight, if it is agreed, which will probably be held in Auckland in March or April. The heavily-tattooed Browne is a fearsome looking boxer but is another good candidate for a reasonably early stoppage for Parker.

In April, Whyte knocked Browne unconscious with a left hook which sent him to hospital. Up until that point, Browne had looked resilient but relatively slow and Parker could cause similar damage in a fight which would be easy to promote given the trans-Tasman rivalry involved.

Joseph Parker wins after knocking out Alexander Flores. Photo / Photosport
Joseph Parker wins after knocking out Alexander Flores. Photo / Photosport

The other options are Englishmen Whyte or Dereck Chisora – the pair fighting in London this weekend. There is also a lesser chance of a fight in the United States against someone such as Bryant Jennings but Parker and his team have worked so hard to build their profile in the UK that it's more likely to be there against an Englishman.

"We have options," trainer Kevin Barry said. "Lucas Browne is an option – that's a good trans-Tasman fight. We would love to fight Dillian Whyte again. That's something Joe talks to me about on a weekly basis. Dillian has a big fight against Dereck Chisora next week in London. We'll fight the winner of that fight or the loser of that fight. We have options."

There is also the Junior Fa question, although Barry was unhappy at the mention of Parker's Kiwi heavyweight rival who extended his undefeated record to 16 wins when stopping an overmatched Rogelio Omar Rossi in the main undercard bout.

[Is Kiwi Junior Fa closing in on clash with WBC champion Deontay Wilder?]

When Parker weighed in the day before his fight Barry said his team had offered the bout to Fa who had effectively turned them down by asking for $500,000.

It is a domestic clash which could happen in 12 months' time but Barry was in no mood to discuss the merits of that after watching Parker score his first knockout win in just over two years.

Barry said, of the offer to Fa: "He said 'no, I'd rather fight a guy who has had seven fights in seven years and has lost four of his last seven fights by knockout and who is 37 years old'. Come on, give me a friggin' break."

He added: "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."