They say it takes a bully to beat a bully, and that's what Tyson Fury became to successfully claim the WBC heavyweight world championship from a bloodied and broken Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas.
Fury packed on seven and a half kilos between his last fight against Wilder – a draw in Los Angeles in December 2018 – to tip the scales at 123.8kg for yesterday's fight at the MGM Grand.
He also changed his tactics. Rather than fighting off the back foot – his preferred method, and one he's very good at - he pressed forward aggressively and smothered the far lighter Wilder (104.7kg). He tired his opponent by leaning on him with his extra weight and height and allowed him no room to throw the right hand for which the American is so famous.
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He bullied the bully who had 41 knockouts in his previous 42 wins, leaving him hurt and disoriented. It was a masterclass in physical and mental strength from the English traveler, the so-called Gypsy King, who is now the biggest thing in boxing, bigger even than his countryman Anthony Joshua, whom he may meet in the middle of the year for a unification fight, one which will break all sorts of records. Parker, who is backed by Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn, will likely hope to be on the card.
Fury will be likely be favoured to mentally and physically break down Joshua, beaten by Andy Ruiz Jr last year before reclaiming his IBF, WBO and WBA world titles. The 31-year-old Fury is an undefeated champion inside and outside the ring and the psychological aspect is important because he can get in the head of his opponents like few others.
And this is probably why he doesn't want to fight Parker, a 28-year-old with whom he has sparred several times and a man scheduled to fly to Dallas tomorrow in order to prepare for his fight against American Shawndell Winters on Sunday.
Parker attended Fury's victory, just as he was at the Staples Centre for Fury's remarkable draw against Wilder, a fight where the Englishman was down and apparently out in the 12th round before hauling himself off the canvas to dominate the final moments and spark the inspiration for his latest success.
"I know we're close but I don't know why he won't fight me," Parker told Radio Sport today. "He has just mentioned it many times that it's a fight he just doesn't want to have. And he wants to fight everyone else expect me. So I'm not quite sure if I'll ever get the chance to fight him."
"He just says 'there's no point in fighting Joseph. I don't want to fight him. I'll never fight him'. And we just leave it like that."
Fury has said that Parker is a like a brother to him, but the Kiwi, on the comeback trail after losing his WBO world title to Joshua in 2018, shouldn't feel too discouraged because the reality is few boxers want to fight him due to the risk and reward factor. Parker's ability to take a punch and throw them with speed and in combinations is not necessarily matched by pulling power and money talks loudly in this game.
Joshua won't want to fight him either, but the reality is should Parker continue to work his way back to mandatory challenger status then Joshua, Fury, or whoever is champion at that stage may have to fight him or risk losing their belt or belts.
All Parker, ranked No2 by the WBO behind champion Joshua and No1 Oleksandr Usyk, can do is continue taking his opportunities and force his way into mandatory status.
A fight against Ukranian Usyk, a skillful former cruiserweight, will be his best hope, a possible match-up for which Parker may be inclined to emulate his good mate Fury and fight like the bigger man and bully.