Fury’s prediction for heavyweight blockbuster

This article was originally published by Stuff and is reproduced with permission

Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has backed Joseph Parker to come out on top against Joe Joyce in the “battle of the nice guys” in Manchester this weekend.

The unbeaten Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) gave his prediction days out from the highly anticipated WBO interim world heavyweight title fight at Manchester Arena, picking the New Zealander to win by either late stoppage or a unanimous decision.

Fury’s frank assessment will come as no surprise, given that he and Parker have become close friends in recent years.

Joe Joyce will face former world champion Joseph Parker in a titanic clash for the interim WBO world heavyweight title on Sunday, September 25 from 7.30am AEST. Watch live and exclusive on Stan Event

The Aucklander has trained at the Gypsy King’s Morecambe gym in the north of England since he teamed up with his cousin, Irishman Andy Lee, last year.

But Fury is also on friendly terms with his mild-mannered compatriot Joyce (14-0, 13 KOs), using him as a sparring partner before the first of his three fights with Deontay Wilder, and joked that there should be a special belt on the line for the “nicest guy in the world of boxing.”

“Prediction for the fight, I think it is going to be a hell of a fight and may the best man win,” Fury told his promoter Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions.

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“But I am edging towards my man, Joe Parker, by late stoppage or unanimous points decision.

“It is a battle of the nice guys. There should be a title, WBO interim, but also battle for the nicest guy in the world of boxing belt!”

While Joyce and Parker are both confidant of victory on Sunday morning (AEST), there is very little animosity and plenty of respect between the pair.

Neither is known for their trash talk and the lack of bad blood was evident when they sat down with former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton for the traditional BT Sport face-off segment.

Joyce recently sparred with former world title challenger Carlos Takam at his Las Vegas camp to prepare for Parker, someone he knocked out in six rounds only last year.

He said it was not unusual for rival boxers to get along outside the ring and simply flick a switch when they climbed through the ropes.

“It is really great to have him (Takam) here in Vegas. You know, it is not the first time I’ve done that. Like when I got in GB (Olympic squad) I beat Frazer Clarke, and then I literally shared a room with him, so some boxers you can be friendly with but when it comes to fight… like Joseph Parker, I’m friendly with him and Fury,” Joyce said.

“But once you get in the ring, then you have to have a different mindset because it is a competition and you are up against your opponent and you want to win. So you can shake hands afterwards basically.”

The winner of Sunday’s blockbuster in Manchester will move a step closer to an eventual world title shot against WBO titleholder Oleksandr Usyk – though Parker will first have to overcome Joyce again in a contractually agreed rematch.

Joyce is ranked No.1 by the WBO, with Parker second in the same organization’s ranking.

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