Tony Bellew throws multiple barbs at Joseph Parker as prospect of heavyweight clash in UK heats up
Tony Bellew has lashed Joseph Parker with criticism as the prospects of a world heavyweight title clash between the pair in the UK continue to heat up.
Outspoken Brit Bellew has emerged as a strong contender to be the next opponent for Kiwi WBO champion Parker, should he defend his belt against Romanian Razvan Cojanu in Auckland on Saturday night.
A converted cruiserweight, Bellew has swiftly risen to prominence since his win over countryman and former world champion David Haye in March and Parker's promoters Duco are enticed by a fight which would raise their fighter's profile in the booming British scene, potentially setting up a unification bout with superstar IBF and WBA champion Anthony Joshua.
Parker and Bellew last week engaged in a war of words on Twitter and in a column for Sky Sports UK on Saturday (NZT), the 34-year-old Liverpudlian stepped things up a notch.
* Parker needs statement win over Cojanu
* $50 PPV price to watch inferior Parker fight
* Parker fight goes live to crucial UK market
* Head-to-Head: Would Parker beat Joshua?
* Mending Fury eager for Parker
* Wilder confident he'll fight Parker next
"Parker is having a laugh with his 22-0 record," Bellew said.
"The best name on his record is Carlos Takam. I'm 1-0 as a heavyweight and my record is better than Parker and Wilder's put together. That's not up for debate, it's a fact.
"I slapped Hayemaker 2:0 all over the ring and that's better than any win from Wilder or Parker."
Bellew's 11th-round technical knockout win against Haye hugely boosted his standing, meaning he can now command much bigger sums of money and holds plenty of power in the ever-present negotiating process involved with setting up a fight.
While the Parker camp and Parker himself have confirmed Saturday's title defence against Cojanu would almost definitely be his last fight in New Zealand for some time, Bellew made it clear a potential bout would only go ahead on his terms.
"If the figures add up, I'd fight Parker," Bellew said in his column.
"I'm not going to go to New Zealand because I'm the third biggest draw in the heavyweight division behind Joshua and Tyson Fury.
"In terms of the calibre of fighter and the name, Parker is a step backwards for me. But he's got a world heavyweight title and that's what I want."
Bellew has not fought since breaking his right hand in the "second or third round" of his win over Haye.
But the confident Merseysider, who has a 29-2-1 record as a professional, has been able to stay in the spotlight through his role as a pundit and was present for Joshua's dramatic 11th-round stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko in London.
Bellew said he punched again for the first time this week with no bad reactions and could not resist one final jab at the WBO champion he could well be set to clash with in the coming months.
"I haven't banged hard, but I've punched hard enough to put Parker on his backside."