Boxing: Joseph Parker embraces new spider look for upcoming fight

Kiwi heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has used last year's spider-bite setback to create a new look for his next fight against an as-yet-unnamed opponent on March 1 (NZ time). 

Speaking to media in Las Vegas, Parker sported a new logo design on his t-shirt that depicted an outline of the former WBO champion with spider legs. 

Parker, 28, was scheduled to fight Brit Dereck Chisora last October, but fell ill from a spider bite that left him unable to train for weeks and eventually withdrew from the contest under doctor's orders. 

The Aucklander was then subjected to 'Spider-Man' taunts and references to Peter Parker, the superhero's alter ego in comics and movies.

"I got the shirt, but no powers yet," Parker told Helen Yee Sports from his Vegas training camp. 

Parker will return to the ring on an undercard, when former four-division champion Mikey Garcia faces former two-division titleholder Jessie Vargas in Frisco, Texas.

Ideally, Parker wanted to fight Chisora next, but admitted that was unlikely. 

Whoever he fights, Parker must impress to press his claims for a WBO title bid later this year. 

Current WBO champion Anthony Joshua - who reclaimed the belt from Andy Ruiz Jnr last month - may be forced to vacate the title, if he chooses to defend his IBF crown against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. 

Parker is currently ranked second in the WBO rankings, so if the belt is relinquished, he would fight top contender Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine. 

"I'd love the opportunity to fight Usyk," says Parker. "He's a top fighter with good skills, good movement and I'd love to test my skills against him, if it's for the world title. 

"There's a lot of things that need to happen… but if the opportunity arose, I'd take it with both hands."

Asked if he expected Joshua to free up the WBO belt, Parker said he wasn't sure, but was hopeful. 

"You never know, I just have to be patient and see what happens. I think they might, but you never know with boxing, things change just like that."

Parker hasn't fought since his 10th-round knockout of Alex Leapai last June in Providence, Rhode Island - his first bout under new promoter Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing.

He insisted he was fully fit to fight against any opponent. 

"I've recovered 100 percent and I'm ready for the next challenge. I'm excited, because I haven't been in the ring since June."