Israel Adesanya will not fight again this year to help team-mate Junior Fa prepare for Joseph Parker clash… and UFC star ‘is pushing for shot at light-heavyweight title next in 2021’
- Israel Adesanya dismantled Paulo Costa to retain middleweight title last month
- He wants to step up and challenge Jan Blachowicz for light-heavyweight crown
- But that will not come until next year as his coaches are helping Junior Fa
- Fa is preparing to fight Joseph Parker and there is ‘team first’ mentality
Israel Adesanya will not fight again this year to help team-mate Junior Fa prepare for a boxing match with Joseph Parker and plans to challenge for the UFC light-heavyweight title on his return in 2021.
The UFC star delivered one of his best ever performances in dismantling Paulo Costa last month.
He had wanted to return again in December to face the winner of Jarod Cannonier against Robert Whittaker but those plans have changed and now he wants to step up and challenge Jan Blachowicz for the light-heavyweight belt.
Israel Adesanya is now planning to step up and fight for the light-heavyweight title
He is delaying that fight to help Junior Fa (right) prepare for Joseph Parker (left)
Adesanya’s head coach Eugene Bareman told 1 NEWS: ‘Me and Tristram [Apikota] – who are integral parts of Israel’s coaching team, we’ve been there for every fight – have committed ourselves to Junior.
‘And fair enough, it’s Junior’s time in the limelight now.
‘Although Israel wanted to fight in December, he does not want to fight without his coaching team so he’s going to have to push his timetable out to fight in early next year.’
‘We’re a team – if you have to move because another fighter is in the limelight, then Israel is more than happy to move aside so Junior can get his fight done. That’s just how you operate as a team.
New light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz is the man Adesanya wants to fight next
‘Without hesitation, Israel is like, “yes, there’s big money involved but there’s big money involved for Junior as well. This is the biggest pay day, it’s the biggest fight of Junior’s life”.’
Former WBO champion Parker is heavy favourite for the December 12 fight with his Kiwi countryman and Adesanya will be helping Fa prepare in sparring before turning his attentions to his own career.
Evidently the undefeated middleweight views Blachowicz as a beatable and wants to become two-weight champion.
Adesanya delivered an almost perfect performance in dismantling Paulo Costa last month
‘Cannonier was the option for this year but we’ve taken that option off the table,’ Bareman went on.
‘Now we want to fight next year and our preferred fight next year is at [light heavyweight].’
‘If we have to push it to next year, then our preferred option, the fight that we are going to try and negotiate to the best of our ability is going to be at 205 [pounds] for the title.’