Boxing: Joseph Parker's world title quest begins against Shawndell Winters

Kiwi heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker feels American Shawndell Winters is the perfect opponent to kickstart his return to the summit of the heavyweight division

The former WBO champion will return to the ring for the first time in nine months, when he faces Winters on March 1 (NZ time) in Texas.

Parker, 28, is desperate to become a two-time heavyweight champion, after a challenging two years since losing the WBO belt to Brit Anthony Joshua.

Following the loss to Joshua, he was outpointed by Dillian Whyte, but then bounced back with consecutive stoppage victories over Alexander Flores and Alex Leapai, albeit unconvincingly. 

He was then due to face Dereck Chisora last October, but a spider bite ruled him out of the contest. 

"I am thankful I am fighting earlier in the year in 2020, because I want to have a busy year," he told VegasInsider. "I want to have three or four fights this year, I want to get going.

"Eddie Hearn's vision for us when we signed was to guide us back to fighting for the title and I guess, with getting me back into contention, it's about the right fights at the right time.

"I know I belong at the top and can beat a lot of the guys at the top, but I have to be patient and work my way back up.

"I need to get past Winters first, but I don't care who I fight in the future - top five, top 10, world champions.

"I know I can give way more than what I have shown in the ring and that is why this is the second phase of my career."

While Parker stated he didn't care who he fought, he was desperate to face Whyte and Chisora in the near future. 

Parker wants to avenge the controversial loss to Whyte in 2018, while he also wants to reschedule the cancelled fight against Chisora. 

But 'Del Boy' Chisora has gone cold on the Parker fight, instead working on a fight against Ukranian Oleksander Usyk.

"I want to fight Whyte, because he won the first fight fair and square, but I know I can beat him," Parker added. 

"Chisora has been in the game a long time, and he is getting a second wind in his career with all these wins and looking good, knocking fighters out. 

"He had a layoff, personal issues and came back, and a lot of people don't want to fight him - but I want to fight him, I would love to fight him." 

Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora.
Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora. Photo credit: Reuters

But Parker knows he must put in an impressive showing against Winters to earn a fight against Whyte or Chisora. 

"Any fight that I have locked in, I treat him like he is the world champion. I did my research on Shawndell and found that he has had 12 KO's out of 13 wins, so he has pop and a lot of power. 

"People don't understand that we had a lot of offers out to a lot of other fighters and opponents. I leave it to Matchroom and my management team to deal with who I fight, and I just deal with training and my body to be in the best shape to win.

"I accept whatever criticism comes my way. For me, you have different challenges in different fights. 

"People always ask me how camp is and you give a generic answer that it's great, but people don't understand the pain that your body goes through.

"I have had surgery on both elbows, so there's a lot in camp that is not understood, but when we go out to fight, we don't show any of that - we are confident and ready to go." 

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