Boxing: Joseph Parker's masterplan to get back to the top of world heavyweight standings

Joseph Parker is wasting no time in his quest to return to the top of heavyweight boxing, as manager David Higgins outlines the Kiwi's hunger to fight often.

Parker, 31, will get back in the ring on January 22, facing off against Englishman Jack Massey at Manchester Arena, with live coverage to be shown on both Three and ThreeNow.

Taking on Massey will see Parker get back in the ring for the first time since defeat to compatriot Joe Joyce back in September, where the Kiwi suffered his only career knockout to take his record to 30 wins and three defeats as a professional.

Joseph Parker against Joe Joyce.
Joseph Parker against Joe Joyce. Photo credit: Getty Images

Those three defeats put Parker's career at somewhat of a crossroads. 

With his next fight taking place on the undercard of Chris Eubank Jr's clash with Liam Smith as a main event, another defeat would see Parker slip even further in his desire to contend with the likes of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk at the top of the division.

For longtime manager Higgins, though, Parker's commitment and want to get back in the ring after such a hard-fought defeat against Joyce shows how serious the Kiwi is to make up for lost time.

"[Joseph's] really confident," Higgins told Newshub. "Obviously [he was] really disappointed coming off a loss to Joe Joyce - a very tough fight.

"Joseph's instructions were, 'I want to get back in the ring as soon as humanely possible'.

"He sacrificed family time at Christmas and went up to join Tyson Fury and train for this fight on Sunday, January 22."

Higgins also outlines Parker won't take things easy when it comes to rebuilding his reputation as a fighter.

Joseph Parker against Dillian Whyte (2018).
Joseph Parker against Dillian Whyte (2018). Photo credit: Photosport

Despite fighting three times in 2021, Parker has struggled to secure regular bouts in recent years.

In 2022, Parker fought just once and had the same across 2019 and in 2020 - albeit with the asterisk of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But now able to travel freely again, Higgins said Parker is prepared to fight as often as he can.

"His instructions were [that] he wants to fight five-six times per year, as often as possible," he continued. 

"I'm now working on what's next for April-May. Ideally, [he'll be] coming off a big win, and step into something even bigger, like fighting a big name on the world stage."

Meanwhile, despite the clear advantage - on paper - against Massey, Higgins said Parker will have his work cut out for him against the 29-year-old.

Massey boasts a professional record of 20 wins and one defeat, with his only loss coming back against Richard Riakporhe in 2019.

However, those victories have all come at the cruiserweight level, with Parker to represent his first step into the heavyweight ranks.

And for Higgins, stepping up into the heavyweight division will allow Massey the chance to emulate some of the biggest names in the sport, including current IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Usyk.

"The opponent's a heavyweight, he's coming up from cruiserweight to heavyweight.

"Several world champions have done that. David Haye is an example, Oleksandr Usyk were cruiserweights that came up to heavyweight.

"So the weight is neither here nor there. It's about the skill level - winning is everything in boxing."

Watch Parker v Massey live on free-to-air on Three and ThreeNow, or join Newshub for live updates from 7am on January 22