Australian Muay Thai legend John Wayne Parr will be looking to turn back the clock at ONE on TNT part III when he faces Dutch star Nieky Holzken in a three round match under the Muay Thai ruleset.

Parr’s last fight was under international boxing rules back in November 2019 and he announced the fight would be his last because he needed a hip replacement. A backstage meeting at the Singapore Indoor Stadium would persuade Parr to come out of retirement and sign with ONE Championship,

“I had decided to call it a day back in November 2019, but what happened since then is hip surgery and another opportunity to live out my dream a little longer. In February 2020 I took Rocky Ogden to Singapore to fight Sam-A. In the change room, I got my first opportunity to meet Mr Chatri. He told me he enjoyed my aggressive fighting style and asked what it would take to bring me back to have one more run at the ONE Championship title? A few days later I received a phone call offering more money than I’ve ever been offered in the past and it was enough to convince me that money does buy happiness and to have one last go.”

Quick recovery

It was one of Parr’s former students that convinced him he could continue his fighting career if he underwent this particular procedure,

“My surgeon use to train in my classes ten years before and understands my line of work. When I saw him and told him I’d been approached to fight again, he was 100% positive that three months after surgery I’d be back in the gym training. After three months I’ve been back kicking pads and sparring 100% pain-free, making training enjoyable again. By the time my fight comes around it will be 10 months from my surgery to my walk to the cage.”

The fight with Holzken is a dream match up for Parr an he sees it as an opportunity to really cement his legacy as one of the greats,

“Nieky has been one of those guys I’ve kept an eye on for the last 15 years knowing that one day we would fight each other. On paper I believe we are very evenly matched with so many similarities. This is my dream fight, I’ve been so lucky to fight so many world class Thais, but if I get the win over Nieky, it would cement my legacy as one of the greatest of all time.”

Living the dream

Being based in Australia means that Parr has not suffered the same sort of disruption to life during the pandemic as fighters from other territories,

“Where I live we have no Covid. Life has been normal here so it’s business as usual and I have had no problems preparing for the fight. Only thing that is going to suck is the quarantine for 15 days coming back into Australia after the fight.”

The question always arises with fighters when they are a long way into their careers, how long they can realistically carry on for? Parr knows he won’t be able to continue competing indefinitely but is happy to take it one fight at a time,

“My only goal right now is beating Nieky. I have a six fight contract with ONE but I’m just taking it one fight camp at a time. I’d love to have all six fights but know I’m getting older. Even if I can do three of the six fights hopefully it will enough to introduce myself to the ONE Championship crowd and get me even more known around the world. With these last few big pay days I’d also love to pay off my house as motivation for my kids showing that through my passion I was able to live the dream.”