Zhang Warns Parker: “You’ll Pay the Price”

WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang warned challenger Joseph Parker today that he’ll “pay the price” if he tries to take food out of his mouth in their 12-round co-feature bout this Friday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) sees himself as a tiger on the hunt, and he won’t be prevented from continuing to chase his game by the “hungry” underdog Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) in their fight on the Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou card at the Kingdom Arena on DAZN PPV.

Fans see Zhang having too much speed and power for Parker, who is coming into the fight with confidence after his win over Deontay Wilder last December.

Parker’s victory may have given him a false belief that he’s improved since his knockout loss to Joe Joyce, and he could be brutally disappointed on Friday. Nothing in Parker’s performance showed that he’s improved.

That fight showed how badly Wilder has deteriorated since his trilogy with Tyson Fury in 2021. Parker will need to find a way to deal with Zhang’s speed and power because the game plan that he used against Wilder likely won’t work.

Parker employed a hit-and-run style, which was perfect for him due to Deontay not throwing punches and looking an old 38.

“I’m the Tiger, and I Hunt”

“He is young, hungry, and here for the belt. I am the tiger here, I am here to hunt, and if you want to take the food out of my mouth, you are going to pay the price,” said Zhang during today’s final press conference, talking about Joseph Parker for their co-feature fight this Friday.

It’ll be interesting to see if Parker takes the fight to Zhang as he did against Wilder and the journeyman Dereck Chisora. In Parker’s eleventh round knockout loss to Joe Joyce in September 2022, he fought scared after getting hit with some heavy shots early on.

“Zhang says he wants to bang me. I want to say to Zhang, ‘I want to bang you’. Zhang did an excellent job in beating Joe Joyce twice and I am a totally different fighter now to when I fought Joe Joyce, physically and mentally,” said Parker.

“I am up for the challenge, I am always up for the challenge. He is the favorite going into this fight, but I will show you what I can do come to fight night.”