The last time John Wayne Parr made headlines in Australia was when he was being slammed by breakfast TV hosts for letting his eight-year-old daughter fight in the ring.
Now, the 43-year-old Muay Thai great is back in the spotlight again as he prepares for his first boxing bout in more than a decade as he takes on Anthony Mundine, in The Man’s comeback bout.
The 43-year-old Parr, who has had 145 pro fights, has vowed to end the divisive Mundine’s comeback as soon as it begins.
The 10-time world kickboxing champion will meet Mundine, 44, in the ring on November 29 – despite his last professional boxing bout taking place more than a decade ago.
‘I’m very excited. This is my real-life Rocky moment,’ Parr told Daily Mail Australia.
Parr, who has competed in 132 professional kickboxing fights and 13 pro boxing fights, described the impending clash as a ‘life-changing’ event.
‘After 145 fights and fighting all over the world… I’ve fought in front of 100,000 people in Bangkok on four different occasions,’ he said.
Muay Thai veteran John Wayne Parr (pictured) has labelled his impending boxing fight with Anthony Mundine as his ‘real-life Rocky moment’
The 43-year-old 10-time world kickboxing champion will meet Mundine (pictured) in the ring on November 29
‘You come home and you just blend into the crowd, not a single person in Australia knows what I just accomplished overseas.
‘This is the first time all eyes are gonna be on me for once… This is what I’ve been dreaming of my whole career.’
While there are still months left before the 75kg catchweight boxing bout on the Gold Coast, Parr is positive about his preparation.
‘I’m not nervous about the fight at all, I’m quite confident. I’m very confident,’ he said.
‘I’m getting ready for [an upcoming fight in] Japan so I’m already 90 per cent fit. I know how hard I can hit and I hit a lot.
‘Even Mundine said he feels like the underdog and I feel like the favourite for sure.’
Parr will compete in kickboxing at Rizin in Japan on August 18, where he will attempt to secure his 100th career win.
‘It would be the perfect lead-up to the Mundine fight because I’ll be on such a high, reaching a milestone not many people can achieve,’ he said.
While there are still months left before the 75kg catchweight boxing bout in the Gold Coast, Parr is positive about his preparation. ‘I’m not nervous about the fight at all, I’m quite confident. I’m very confident,’ he said
Parr pictured with his daughter Jasmine in 2011. The now 16-year-old will compete in her 24th fight in England next month
Parr recalled being ‘destroyed’ by the Australian media when Jasmine (pictured) entered her first fight age eight
‘It’s going to give me more motivation to be as devastating as possible.’
Parr will then jump on a plane to cheer on his 16-year-old daughter Jasmine six days later.
‘I have to fly straight from Japan to England to be in her corner,’ he said.
‘She’s hopefully going to defend her international title over there.’
Parr recalled being ‘destroyed’ by the Australian media when Jasmine entered her first fight at the age of eight.
‘Karl Stefanovic was screaming at me on TV saying my daughter should be taken off my hands before I get her seriously hurt and brain damaged,’ Parr said.
‘I was on Sunrise, Today, The Project. The Project said ”John Wayne, is it true you’re trying to live your dreams through your daughter forcing her to fight at eight years old”.
‘Kerri-Anne Kennerley she destroyed me, she thought I was sexualising my daughter as an eight-year-old wearing a crop top in the ring.’
Parr said there was nothing he could do about the criticism he copped from the media, calling himself a ‘victim’.
‘But now she’s 16, 24 fights, she’s already fought in Thailand, England and Canada. She’s killing it,’ Parr said.
Parr explained Jasmine developed her love for fighting from her parents as his wife, Angie Parr, is a two-time world champion.
‘We’re the Kardashians of Muay Thai, the Kardashians of kickboxing,’ Parr (pictured with daughter Jasmine) told Daily Mail Australia
‘It’s her [Jasmine’s] passion now to become the best fighter she can be,’ Parr said
‘It’s her [Jasmine’s] passion now to become the best fighter she can be,’ Parr said.
‘We’re the Kardashians of Muay Thai, the Kardashians of kickboxing.’
When asked by Daily Mail Australia if he was concerned about his last professional fight being in 2003, Parr responded with a confident ‘hell no’.
‘Boxing is 50 per cent, 60 per cent of all Muay Thai training anyway. I win the majority of my Muay Thai fights by knocking people out with my hands,’ he explained.
‘It’s not new, I train boxing every day.’
Parr was contacted about returning to boxing while he was training for Japan at his gym but wasn’t interested until he heard Mundine’s name.
Parr explained Jasmine developed her love for fighting from her parents as his wife, Angie Parr (pictured), is a two-time world champion
The match is a chance at redemption for Mundine, who was knocked out by Jeff Horn in 96 seconds in November last year
‘The phone rang ”hey would you be interested in having a boxing fight”, at the time I said ”not really I’m quite happy doing what I’m doing with the Muay Thai”,’ Parr explained.
‘They said ”what about if we threw the name Anthony Mundine at you?”’
‘I said ”whoa, that changes everything”. I said yes immediately, it was an opportunity I couldn’t let slip through my fingers.’
The match is a shot at redemption for Mundine, who was knocked out by Jeff Horn in 96 seconds in November last year.
‘I think he wanted to retire after his last fight, what happened with the Horn thing, he’s probably not coming back for the passion, he’s coming back because of his ego,’ Parr suggested.
‘Mentally he is already retired, he’s only doing this to get one last win whereas I still have that passion to achieve greatness.
‘I’ve said since I was 11 years old, I’m going to keep fighting and training until the wheels fall off. Currently the wheels are very wobbly, I don’t have much time left.’
Parr (pictured) said he was uninterested by the prospect of the fight, until he heard Mundine’s name on the receiver
Mundine (left) and Parr (right) pose after announcing their fight for November
Despite the ‘crazy’ boxing invitation and increased media attention, Parr recalled moving to Bangkok, Thailand, in 1996 where he lived rough and trained hard to build his career.
‘I was living on the floor for four years. I didn’t have toilet paper either for four years,’ he said.
‘There was no furniture, I had to sit on the wooden floor to eat my breakfast and my dinner, rice for breakfast, rice for dinner.
Parr, who can speak fluent Thai, said he was the first Australian to fight at all major Thai stadiums and was the first westerner on their Muay Thai magazine.
‘Anyone who goes to Thailand and says they’re from Australia, the Thais will say ”do you know John Wayne Parr?”,’ Parr said.
Pictured: Parr and his sleeping condition while living in Bangkok for Muay Thai
Parr (pictured in 1997), who can speak fluent Thai, said he was the first Australian to fight at all major Thai stadiums and was the first westerner on their Muay Thai magazine
‘My first fight over there [Bangkok] I was on 1000 baht a fight, which is about $30.’
‘My last fight there I won an eight-man tournament at the biggest stadium in Thailand and I won a million baht, a trophy from the Prime Minister and the world title.’
‘I come back to Australia and no one knows your name.’
A documentary detailing Parr’s career Blessed with Venom was released in 2011 and shown in selected Australian cinemas for two weeks.
‘It shows how it all started, the conditions I lived in and highlights some of the fights I’ve had overseas,’ he said.
Parr is pictured in 2004 after winning another fight in Bangkok, Thailand
A documentary detailing Parr’s career Blessed with Venom was released in 2011 and shown in selected Australian cinemas for two weeks
Parr said he appreciated the support of Australians ahead of his fight with Mundine and promised to think of them in the ring.
‘I’m very appreciative for all of Australia’s support and for everyone that wants me to punch Mundine, I’m your man,’ Parr said.
‘I treat this as a community service for Australia.’
Following the announcement of the fight, Mundine said: ‘I’ve got nothing but respect for the brother. But I’m going to show him who’s daddy in the boxing ring’.
The fight declaration came after Mundine made the decision to retire from a 25-year sporting career in both rugby league and boxing.
‘I want to make sure I’m in tip-top shape because John Wayne Parr will be,’ Mundine said.
‘This is Australia’s version of the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight – two champs from different fight sports and we know how that one finished. The slick boxer won easy.’
Parr (pictured with Jasmine) said he appreciated the support of Australian’s ahead of his fight with Mundine and promised to think of them in the ring. ‘I’m very appreciative for all of Australia’s support and for everyone that wants me to punch Mundine, I’m your man,’ Parr said
Following the announcement of the fight, Mundine said: ‘I’ve got nothing but respect for the brother. But I’m going to show him who’s daddy in the boxing ring’