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Boxing: Winner of Joseph Parker v Joe Joyce showdown to join heavyweight's global elites, Kiwi believes

Victory will put either fighter in contention to challenge for the WBO heavyweight title.

Joseph Parker before facing Derek Chisora (2021). Credits: Image - Photosport; Video - Supplied

Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker believes the winner of Sunday's bout against Joe Joyce will be propelled into the top tier of boxing, with the WBO's interim world title.

Parker, 30, squares off against unbeaten 37-year-old Joyce on Sunday morning (NZ time), with the winner to put themself into contention to face current title holder Oleskandr Usyk.

Should Parker win, the contract does contain a rematch clause that could potentially set up a second clash with Joyce as early as the end of this year.

Joseph Parker. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

For the Kiwi, victory would give another shot at the WBO belt - which he held from 2016 to 2018  - until he was defeated by Joyce's compatriot, Anthony Joshua.

And with a new lease on life and his career under the tutelage of trainer Andy Lee, the Kiwi is confident a win can lift him back into the same reckoning as Usyk, Joshua and Tyson Fury as the sport's biggest contenders.

"This fight feels like we're right there, we're nearly there," Parker told BT Sport. "The winner of this fight can jump into that little group at the top.

"I was there before, but I want to get there again, and I want to stay there, the hardest part is staying there."

Sunday's bout will be Parker and Lee's third together, already boasting back-to-back wins over Derek Chisora together.

The duo were paired together at the recommendation of WBC champion Tyson Fury, after Parker's long-term partnership with former trainer Kevin Barry came to an end.

Andy Lee and Joseph Parker. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

And looking to make it three from three alongside Lee, Parker asserts training to face Joyce has been the best preparation of his career.

"I'm a lot different from the fighter I was before, and I'm a lot better," he added. "There's a lot more that I can show if I keep putting in the work with Andy Lee.

"The first camp I had with Chisora was a good camp, the second camp was better, this camp is great. Imagine what the next camp's going to be like?

"When you have more time with someone, and you're learning off them constantly, it gets ingrained into you.

"Instead of me learning it and trying it, that's actually me now.

"Andy Lee is a great trainer and a great teacher, that's the reason Tyson [Fury] linked us up together.

"It was the best move I've made in this part of my career, I can only see myself going upwards from here."

At 30, Parker is now entering his prime as a fighter.

With 32 professional fights under his belt, Parker is more experienced than Joyce (14 fights), despite being seven years his junior.

And even after reaching the lofty heights of being a world champion so early in his career, Parker says he's far from done at the elite level.

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"I feel like I am hitting the prime of my career. I've been in the game for a long time, achieved some good things in boxing, become world champion.

"But I have a lot more to give. I have a lot more to show, a lot more to achieve.

"I'm going to go out there and do it."

Join Newshub for live updates of Joseph Parker v Joe Joyce from 6am Sunday

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