Boxing: Junior Fa 'pretty close' to securing Joseph Parker fight

Kiwi heavyweight Junior Fa says a deal is "pretty close" for a highly anticipated clash against compatriot Joseph Parker later in the year. 

Both camps have been working towards a December date for a fight, although negotiations have been going on for some time with money being a clear issue.

Fa and Parker split two wins apiece in amateur ranks, with the former winning the first and fourth encounters, but their professional careers have taken completely different routes, with Parker claiming a WBO world title and Fa's health issues stalling his progress.

Most recently, the camps have waged a debate over what brand of gloves should be worn by each boxer, with Parker's promoter, David Higgins, calling it a "deal breaker".

But the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the two camps closer together in 2020, as both look to assert themselves as genuine top-five contenders, but with international fights nearly impossible to stage in the current climate.

Both claim they should have won all four of their meetings in the amateurs and Fa told Sky Sports UK that his ring intelligence would be crucial, when the pair eventually go toe-to-toe. 

"I just played the game smart and moved, because I know Joe is a big puncher and he can also take a punch, so there is no point in me standing there with him," he says. "I just moved around, stuck behind my jab, shifted around him for the whole fight. 

"We're going into the finer details, making sure there is no grey area in the contract. We just want to make sure everything is airtight, so it's me versus him.

"I think the first time we fought was back in 2009. The last time we fought was in 2012, before the Olympic trials."

Fa admits this fight has come much sooner than expected, but he still believes he has the goods to defy the odds. 

Junior Fa.
Junior Fa. Photo credit: Getty

"COVID had different plans that put away a few fights that I had planned for this year to build myself up, but we're here now, I've got to make the best of it. 

"I want to train as hard as I can and then give myself the best chance to beat Joseph Parker.

"I know a lot of eyes are on me. I've got to get down and do the work, and put on a great performance."

Earlier this week, Parker slipped down the WBO heavyweight rankings to third, after Brit Daniel Dubois beat Dutchman Ricardo Snijkders last weekend. 

Dubois sits behind Ukranian Oleksandr Usyk, who is the mandatory challenger to current WBO champion Anthony Joshua.

Fa is ranked sixth in the WBO rankings.