Joseph Parker v Junior Fa: Loss could be career-ending blow for Parker, says Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn

Promoter Eddie Hearn believes anything less than an emphatic win against Junior Fa could be a career-ending blow for Kiwi Joseph Parker.

On Saturday, Parker squares off with Junior Fa at Auckland's Spark Arena, aiming for his fourth straight win in his bid to return to the elite tier of world heavyweight title consideration.

The 29-year-old has a ready-made fight against Dereck Chisora awaiting him in the UK, but the Matchroom Boxing boss says a loss to his fellow South Aucklander could be a setback from which he never recovers.

"They start trading blows on Saturday and [Parker] walks into one, his career is over," Hearns tells Newshub. "Forget fighting for a world title. 

"A defeat for Joseph Parker would be catastrophic and I think there's huge pressure on him.

"He may have to retire, or he may have to come back in an eight or 10-rounder, and he may not want to have to do that.

"But I'm hoping, after this fight, we can stand on a mountain and shout 'Joseph Parker is back', and then start this path for him to regain his word title."

Junior Fa is 19-0.
Junior Fa is 19-0. Photo credit: Photosport

Not only does Parker need to win, he needs to win handsomely, says Hearn, who signed the former WBO champion to a three-fight deal in May 2019.

"I want a performance that's going to show the world that you're one of the best heavyweights out there and that performance comes with fast hands, with dominance, and with brutality and taking this guy out," he says

"I don't want to see a lacklustre performance, I don't want to see a lethargic performance. I want to see a brutal performance."

As you'd expect from a promoter of Hearn's pedigree, he already has a blueprint laid out for Parker for the remainder of 2021. In his ideal world, Parker would comprehensively beat Fa and then Chisora to set up a potential title showdown against the winner of Aleksander Usyk v Joe Joyce, which will have an interim WBO heavyweight title attached to it.

"Take care of business Saturday, come over to the UK and take on Chisora at the end of April, early May, then fight the winner of Usyk v Joyce for the title," says Hearn.

"We could be sitting here in 10 months time with Joseph Parker and that belt around his waist again.

"That's a realistic path, but that's also dangerous to start looking at that path, without focusing on Saturday.

"The Brits love him - he's a great character and a great fighter. I just hope now that he can get the momentum and he can live up to the performances that I know he can deliver."

On the flip side of that coin is a career-changing opportunity for undefeated Fa. 

While the City Kickboxing product's global profile pales by comparison to his opponent's, those inside the boxing community - particularly in US gyms, where he's been a regular sparring partner for the likes of Deontay Wilder - are already familiar with the Tongan's talents.

Hearn says Fa can now prove his credentials and truly put himself on the map.

"The big question mark for Junior Fa is 'are you a world class fighter?' Well, guess what, we'll find out against Joseph Parker.

"He's been demolishing the opposition. It hasn't been a world class opposition, but when you're young and you're fearless, and you've never been beaten before, you have that air of arrogance around you. 

"In the heavyweight game, it doesn't always matter if you're elite, world class level. If you throw your hands with 10oz gloves on and you've got any kind of speed at all, you can knock people out.

"One thing about Fa - he can knock people out."

The match-up sells itself, says Hearn, and despite not being staged in the traditional strongholds of the UK or Nevada, the eyes of the boxing world will be fixed on Aotearoa.

"You've got two New Zealanders, one has Samoan heritage and one has Tongan heritage," he says. "They've got history from the amateurs…  this is bread and butter to me.

"This is the perfect narrative and I think it's a big fight. This is going to be in 180 countries around the world. 

"I know you guys had the yacht race last week, but this is on another level. This is truly global."

Join us for live updates of the Parker v Fa fight on February 27