Life Changing

Ice-cool Jack Massey sees life-changing probability towards Joseph Parker

Jack Massey’s first love was ice hockey and he knows he must take a cool approach into his fight with New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker in Manchester next weekend.

Massey, the IBO cruiserweight champion, steps up to the heavyweight division for the first time, determined to make the most of what he terms “a life-changing opportunity” against Parker, the former WBO champion.

The 29-year-old entered boxing by chance, using it as a fitness exercise to complement his ice hockey performance.


A brave Joseph Parker went down fighting in an 11th round knockout loss to Joe Joyce in Manchester.

He took to it naturally, doing well enough as an amateur to win a national title and trial for Team Great Britain before deciding to turn professional in 2013. He has fashioned a 20-1 record with 11 knockouts, being known for his power and movement.

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“I only started because I wanted to keep fit for the ice hockey, but over time I fell in love with it,” Massey recalls, saying he eventually quit his time on the ice because of the long travel time for practice in Sheffield four times a week.

“I was in it for fun, but obviously I was aware of the big fighters – Mike Tyson was someone I watched a bit – and my dad had all the video tapes, so I was always around the sport.

‘If I’m honest, it wasn’t initially the plan to turn professional so early because I had trials with Team GB. They dropped me and the day I signed to turn pro, they sent me another letter for further trials.

“By that point I’d already made my mind up to try and make a bit of money. It was tough as an amateur because not a lot of people wanted to fight me and it was real hard work. It was getting on my nerves and I didn’t want to go stale.”

Jack Massey took to boxing naturally after he used it as a fitness tool for his ice hockey dreams.

Julian Finney/Getty Images/Getty Images

Jack Massey took to boxing naturally after he used it as a fitness tool for his ice hockey dreams.

Massey has found professional fights similarly hard to come by in recent times as he built his name through power – “When I hit them, they tend to go down” – and fought just once last year after securing the IBO belt in 2021.

He had to turn his attention to other areas to try to make some money to supplement his boxing career. When the surprise offer to fight Parker came through, he didn’t hesitate despite the size of the challenge in front of him. Cruiserweights fight up to a 90.7kg limit. Parker weighed in at a career-high 115.84kg for his last fight, a knockout loss to Britain’s Joe Joyce at the same venue in September.

“I was actually doing a bit of scaffolding with my brother in the run-up to Christmas, because the year has been a tough year for my career,” Massey told talkSPORT in the UK.

“My last outing was in April, and then we had a few hiccups with promotion, I won’t go into it too much, but that’s all done and dusted.

“So, yeah I got the phone call during that freezing cold week while I was scaffolding, it was about -6 degrees.

“My manager rang me saying we had a fight offer and the first words out of my mouth were ‘yeah, let’s have it’.”

Massey trusts his instincts and the more he has thought about it, the more he feels comfortable with his decision to step up a division against such a formidable opponent.

“It’s a life-changing fight,” Massey said.

“He’s a top 10 heavyweight, if we go in there and get the job done it’s life-changing.

“So, people can’t say I’m just turning up for the money because if I win this fight and stay at heavyweight, then it’s another life-changing fight next against a top 10 heavyweight.”

Massey has respect for Parker who has had some huge fights in a 30-3 career but now stands at a vulnerable juncture.

Joseph Parker needs a strong performance against Jack Massey after his tough loss to Joe Joyce last September.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Joseph Parker needs a strong performance against Jack Massey after his tough loss to Joe Joyce last September.

“I’m not daft, it’s a tough fight, everyone can see that, but I wouldn’t go in there if I didn’t think I could beat him,” he said.

“I know sparring is very different, but I’ve been in there with other heavyweights, I’ve sparred Joseph Parker himself, so I think I’m capable of winning this fight, and I’m going to use my attributes to get round him and get this win.”

Many would feel all the pressure is on Parker given his bigger size and proven record in the glamour division. Massey could simply return to the cruiserweight ranks if he can’t find success against the Kiwi.

But Massey has felt a burden building on his shoulders after taking the fight at six weeks notice. It’s the immensity of the opportunity and, yes, ultimately money does come into his thinking.

“At first I thought there’s no pressure, but as I’ve got deeper into the camp, I’d probably say there is a lot of pressure there because it is a life-changing fight,” Massey told TalkSPORT.

Jack Massey is promising to step up to heavyweight with style against Joseph Parker.

Jack Massey is promising to step up to heavyweight with style against Joseph Parker.

“If I win this it’s going to shoot me right into the mix, and it’s about making yourself financially stable.

“That’s one of the main reasons I’m in this game and if I beat Joseph Parker, the money available after this fight could set me up for life, so there’s pressure there.”

From his side, Parker knows he has to win and win well if he is to achieve his desire to get rematches with the three British boxers who have scarred his record – Dillian Whyte, Anthony Joshua, and Joyce.

“I know where I am now, and I have to build myself back and the person in front of me now is Jack.

“He can come up to heavyweight, but it’s going to be a rude awakening. If he’s taking anything from my last fight then that’s a mistake. I’ll show something better.

“From a loss like that you need to come back and show a better account of yourself and that’s what I want to do.

“The explosive finish is what we all want. My goal is to go out there and just smash him and start the year off with a bang.”

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