<
>

Introducing Zach Parker: A fight away from Canelo Alvarez, but his mum sells his tickets

Zach Parker (left) will face English rival John Ryder for the WBO world interim super middleweight belt on Saturday. Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images

When it comes to ticket sales, super middleweight contender Zach Parker admits he cannot take all the credit for those he generates. He is undefeated after 22 fights, with 16 knockouts to shout about. He is even one fight away from a possible shot at Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez. But it is those closer to home who do the legwork. His mum, Tina, is always the first on hand

Parker faces English rival John Ryder for the WBO world interim super middleweight belt at the 02 Arena in London on Saturday, with the winner set to go first in line for a shot at one of four world titles held by Mexican Alvarez.

Parker (22-0, 16 KOs), 28, is a long way from the popularity of Canelo, one of boxing's biggest stars, but he has an impressive following from his native Derbyshire.

Despite being on the brink of fighting for world titles, Parker still sells his own tickets with the help of his mum.

"I've come up the hard way on small hall shows, selling my own tickets from the start of my career," Parker told ESPN.

"I'm a switch hitter and I like to produce knockout performances which hopefully helps with ticket sales, and I've got good support around Derbyshire.

"I sold 10,000 and we would have had 30,000 at Derby County's stadium for when I was supposed to fight Demetrius Andrade. I still sell my own tickets, with the help of my mum, Tina. In fact, she does most of the work, she does all my errands with the tickets.

"Mum does most of it and we sell a lot of the tickets through social media now, through Instagram and Twitter. I used to put posters up with my phone number on, but it's all going through social media now.

"I usually set up a meeting point for people to come and pick up the tickets, or if it's too far away my mum posts it out.

"I'm taking 900 down for the Ryder fight. It's hard times for a lot of people money wise at the moment, to expect them to pay for hotels in London, so I'm hoping to fight in Derby in the future. We sorted out a few buses to take them down for this fight, they're all gone now.

"My mum's been a great help, she's supported me through my career and when I was amateur she just told me to focus on training rather than getting a job and she would support me. I've said I'll pay her back when I'm earning millions from world title fights. Family is very important to me."

Parker, whose dad, Darren, was a professional boxer in the late 1980s and 1990s who fought the likes of Chris Eubank, is on the brink of securing a big money world title fight after the disappointment of losing out on boxing American Demetrius Andrade earlier this year. Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs), 34, the former WBO middleweight champion from Rhode Island, withdrew from a proposed fight with Parker in May due to a shoulder injury and has yet to confirm details of his next fight.

Parker's career has been built on steady progress and has recorded five consecutive stoppage victories, however he has not boxed for a year due to the delay with the Andrade postponement.

Victory over Ryder (31-5, 17 KOs), 34, from London, would maintain Parker's No. 1 position with the WBO.

"I've been inactive for a while, but through no fault of my own," Parker said.

"The WBO called for me and Andrade to fight, then he said he had a shoulder injury but I've not seen a scan and I don't believe it. I think he just didn't want to fight me in England.

"We had to wait for Andrade to see if he would fight, agree another date, and he was just no where to be seen. That's why I'm fighting John Ryder, which will be a better fight anyway because John will stand and have a fight but Andrade would have just run.

"I really wanted the Andrade fight, he's a two-weight world champion and it would have been a good fight for me to get my name out there.

"Everyone wants the Canelo fight but I have to prove myself first in fights like this. We will see what Canelo does, if he goes up to light heavyweight to fight Dmitry Bivol again I will be made full world champion [if Parker beats Ryder]. At the top level you just have to be patient because the big names just do what they want, they call the shots and you have to go with it."