Parker v Fa: Promoter Eddie Hearn warns Joseph Parker 'time to put camera down'

Promoter Eddie Hearn has warned charge Joseph Parker to get back to business for his upcoming 'home derby' against Kiwi rival Junior Fa.

New Zealand's top heavyweights have finally confirmed their showdown at Auckland's Spark Arena on December 11, as both fighters try to progress their careers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parker last entered the ring on March 1, when he accounted for unheralded American Shawndell Winters via technical knockout in Dallas, Texas.

Within days, the NZ Government closed its borders to keep the coronavirus out and major sporting events around the world began dropping off the calendar.

If anything, the former WBO world champion used the ensuing months in lockdown to enhance his marketability, producing a series of amusing social media videos that showcased his personality for fans more used to his stoic, no-nonsense approach to the fight game.

But Hearn has told Parker it's time to get his game face back on.

"A lot of people don't know about Joseph Parker - he's a very good man, he's a very honourable man and a very loyal man," insists the irrepressible Englishman.

"He's also a very funny man with a great sense of humour and very creative, as you've seen as well. He's done a great job of putting a smile on people's faces and keeping them happy during the pandemic.

"Now it's time to put the camera down and the music videos away, to get in and do the hard yards in sparring and on the road, and prepare himself for a very hard fight in his career."

Hearn has billed - predictably - as a "brilliant fight", especially at a time when international sporting events are still being staged in empty venues.

Tuesday's announcement comes 24 hours after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signalled Auckland would drop to COVID-19 Alert Level 1, opening the doors for fans to attend both Bledisloe Cup rugby tests over the next two weeks.

"I have to - for once - give big props to my partner David Higgins," beams Hearn. "We've co-promoted the show with him - our first show in New Zealand.

"Brilliant fight for that part of the world, brilliant fight during the pandemic."

Hearn admits he's never visited Australia or New Zealand, although his Matchroom organisation was due to open an Australian office before the pandemic struck. 

Parker and Fa have met four times as amateurs, with each claiming two wins.

"Amateur rivalry or not, they're both from New Zealand," says Hearn. "This is about the pride of the country, this is about each other's pride, it's about heavyweight pride... it's about the winner probably going on to challenge for a world title.

"For Junior Fa, it's an opportunity to leapfrog everyone else in the top 10 and put yourself in the top three. For Joseph Parker, it's not just about pride, it's about defending his position.

"One of the great things about the situation we're in at the moment - everyone's stepping up to the challenge, everyone's realising these great fights need to be made. Joseph Parker v Junior Fa is a cracking fight, not just for New Zealand, but the global heavyweight scene as well."

Fa still boasts an unbeaten 19-0 record, but hasn't fought since November 2019, when he earned a unanimous points decision over American Devin Vargas at Salt Lake City, Utah.