Joseph Parker has thanked heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury for his support after a late dash across the globe to see the Kiwi dispatch Faiga Opelu in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Needing a convincing victory to keep himself in contention as a fighter, Parker did all that was asked of him by knocking his opponent out in the first round - his first stoppage win since February 2020.

The victory was Parker's second in succession following last year's knockout loss to Joe Joyce, coming after an unconvincing win over Englishman Jack Massey in January.

Wednesday's win was also Parker's first fight on Australian soil after basing himself out of the UK for the better part of the last three years.

While in England, the 31-year-old has been a mainstay of Fury's gym in Morecambe, with the pair sharing a close friendship since Parker's win over Tyson's cousin Hughie Fury in 2018. 

Five years on, that bond remains as strong as ever.

"It's incredible," Parker told Newshub. "Incredible to have Tyson on this side of the world, to get his support.

"We are like brothers. Him and Spencer Brown, his manager, flew down to support me, I know they're still jet-lagged. They're jet-lagged, they're tired but they made the effort to come all the way. 

"I'm very grateful for that."

While not necessarily the victory needed to send Parker back to the big time, defeating Opelu is another step towards a potential world title run.

Weighing in at his lightest since 2018, a new-look Parker made short work of Opelu and wants to get back in the ring as soon as possible.

"I just wanted to put on a good performance, a better performance compared to the ones I've had recently.

"I feel like I have, but there's a long way to go. There's a lot of things to improve on, a lot of things to work on still. 

"But I want to keep on progressing, lock in fights as soon as I can, and keep busy.

"If I keep busy, I'll make my way to the top a lot faster, fighting for those titles and unification."

However, while no next opponent has been locked in, Parker is confident it won't be Fury.

The current WBC title holder is currently without a fight after a proposed heavyweight unification bout with Oleksandr Usyk fell through.

And while Parker is willing to step in, Fury ultimately has decided otherwise. 

"I've said I want to fight him, but he said yesterday that we're like brothers and he'd rather give me the belt.

"I think that's off the table, but there's a lot of other people to fight. I'll fight anyone and everyone out there.

"He's got people he wants to fight as well. If we can both dominate at the same time, it would be great."

2023-05-25T03:16:30Z dg43tfdfdgfd