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April 21, 2021

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Zach Parker says he will beat Canelo or Saunders for WBO belt

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Parker makes his BT Sport debut this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Zach Parker is confident he is the man to upset the super middleweight division and beat either Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez or Billy Joe Saunders later this year.

Parker is currently ranked no1 with the WBO and is the mandatory challenger for the belt currently owned by Saunders, who collides with WBA and WBC champion Canelo in a huge unification showdown in May.

The Derbyshire fighter, undefeated in 19 fights, has quietly gone about his business earning his position near the top but must first take care of business against Vaughn Alexander on Friday night on BT Sport in his first fight since linking up with promoter Frank Warren.

Parker’s WBO international title and his no1 ranking will be on the line and should he pass this latest test, the 26-year-old believes a dream meeting with pound-for-pound great Canelo or the undefeated Saunders is waiting around the corner.

‘We will have to see who wins and what the mandatory position will be after Canelo vs Saunders because really, I should be mandatory now,’ Parker told Metro.co.uk.

Canelo and Saunders meet on 8 May (Picture: Getty)

‘I should be there now but that is what we are aiming for, me getting the winner out of that as soon as possible.

‘Frank is one of the biggest promoters in the world. If anyone can get these fights made, Frank can. I am fully confident in my team now. We just have to see how it goes.’

Parker’s status as the mandatory challenger for the WBO belt should guarantee him a title shot in the very near future. But as Oleksandr Usyk, the organisation’s no1 ranked fighter in the heavyweight division, and others have found, it is not always that simple.

Parker takes confidence from the fact that 30-year-old Canelo is determined to have a busy 2021 having already fought WBA mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim in February. And having backed the Mexican superstar to get the win over Saunders, he believes his opportunity will come later this year.

Parker ready for the big tests (Picture: Getty)

‘Canelo fighting his mandatories, it gives me confidence, he wants to box everyone in the sport,’ Parker continued. ‘He doesn’t shy away from mandatories like some people do. So it’s a confidence booster that this gets made. As long as I keep performing and winning that’s the way it is going to go.’

He added: ‘I think it’s a hard fight for Billy. Obviously Canelo is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters, I reckon he’s grown into the weight more than Billy. I can see Canelo winning with a late stoppage.’

Canelo has built one of the most fearsome records in boxing with six Britons already falling victim, including the previously undefeated Callum Smith who fell someway short last December.

Canelo and Lara fought in 2014 (Picture: Getty)

The only blemishes on his 58-fight record are a sole defeat to Floyd Mayweather in 2013 and a controversial draw with Gennady Golovkin in 2017 – a fight many gave to the Kazakh.

Parker also believes there was evidence of holes in Canelo’s armour in his win over Erislandy Lara seven years ago – and believes his own switch-hitting style could provide more problems.

‘Canelo comes forward a bit more [than Saunders], so maybe he will be better stylistically for me and it might make for a better fight because we can go at it a bit more. But any of the two, I will take them.

‘People make out he [Canelo] is unstoppable but everyone needs to remember he has already lost and struggled in other fights like the Lara and Golovkin fights. I’m a switch hitter, I’m not going to play down to him, I can come at him as a southpaw and orthodox. I can be very tricky for him.’

Parker is confident aligning himself with Warren and Queensberry Promotions will open doors for him with Daniel Jacobs, David Lemieux and London’s John Ryder the other names at 168lbs he is eager to test himself against.

‘I want to be tested against the best. These guys are proven and I’m just waiting for my chance because I have been ducked half my career. If any of those fights did get made I would be 100 per cent confident I would get the win and get the win in style.’

For now, his focus his solely on chasing win no20 against Alexander, the older brother of former two-weight champion Devon.

‘He is a lot tougher fighter than people are making out. He’s got good pedigree, his brother is a former world champion, he’s never been stopped and he’s only been beaten by decent guys. I’m looking forward to a tough fight but I’m going to make sure my star is brighter than his.’


MORE : Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders to fight in front of 60,000 at AT&T Stadium in Texas


MORE : Canelo Alvarez tells Jake Paul fan to ‘get the f**k out of here’ after mystery pair crash post-fight interview

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