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Kiwi boxing trainer and aficionado Kevin Barry wasn't mincing words when it came to assessing the performance of Tyson Fury in defeating incumbent heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko this morning. The British fighter scored a unanimous decision win over Klitschko to snap a nine-year reign at the top of the division, a feat not lost on Barry. "It's massive news for heavyweight boxing," said Barry. "We've waited 10 years for somebody to knock the great Wladimir Klitschko off his throne."
Barry cited three key factors in the Russian's downfall. "I believe it was a combination of Klitschko getting old, Fury getting inside his head, and maybe he's actually starting to think of retiring now." As head trainer of top heavyweight prospect Joseph Parker, Barry was more invested than most in the result, confident his young charge would hold his own against either fighter.
"I believe in my heart that if we fought Klitschko today, Joe would've knocked him out."
A look at Daniel Martz's record suggests he's not in Joseph Parker's class, but judging by his Twitter page, he's got plenty of game when it comes to banter. All the pre-fight chat should make for an interesting build up to next month's Fight for Life where undefeated Parker will take on the 2.02m American. Martz doesn't mince words on Twitter, writing rather succinctly, "I beat people up" in his profile's job description. However, with 140 characters to play with, the prolific tweeter drops plenty of bombs, and he's clearly not short on confidence.
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Joseph Parker has no doubt his American opponent Daniel Martz will be in good shape, arriving in New Zealand off a training camp with former world champion Alexander Povetkin. The unbeaten heavyweight Parker fights Martz (14-2-1) as the headline act in next week's Fight For Life in Hamilton. Parker has arrived in Auckland after a month's training in Las Vegas following his impressive knockout win over Kali Meehan that took him to No 5 in the WBO rankings. Martz hasn't fought since July but he's had plenty on his hands. He spent four weeks in Russia helping Povetkin prepare for his recent win over Poland's Mariusz Wach. Povetkin, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist, scored a 12th round TKO. Povetkin, who won the WBA heavyweight title in 2011 and defended it four times before suffering his only loss to Wladimir Klitschko, is now the WBC's mandatory challenger and is waiting patiently for his crack at champion Deontay Wilder. Being in that sort of company is a big rap for the 25-year-old Martz who hails from Clarksburg, West Virginia. "He's going to be coming here fit and with a lot of confidence. He wouldn't be sparring with Povetkin if he wasn't up to it," Parker said of Martz who arrives in Auckland on Sunday. Parker's trainer Kevin Barry agreed.
"We know that Martz will be in the best shape that he has been in. He's a big young guy and he will bring some challenges. These are all good things because we wanted the guy to come here in good shape. We gave him plenty of time to prepare, so there will be no excuses from him," Barry said. Parker has been sparring big fighters in Las Vegas to prepare for the 2.02m Martz who is dubbed "The Mountain". He has watched videos of Martz's fights and prepared accordingly. "He likes to use his size. He can box from the outside but he also likes to come in and smother you and sort of wrestle you and use his weight," Parker said of Martz. "I've seen a few openings that I think I can use when I fight him. I feel I have been executing the plan in our training camp, now the most important thing is to do it on the night." Barry described the game-plan as "simple and accurate". "I didn't want to complicate things for Joe given we only had four weeks. We have six main combinations for this guy, attacking him on both sides of the body and head. Jo has taken this on very, very well.
"We can't allow Martz to monster Joe when he's on his chest. The angles are very important for us in this fight. Joe's got fast hands but also fast feet so it's a matter of explode in and explode out."
By Steve Deane
Joseph Parker's January 23 bout in Samoa will help restore the once proud boxing nation to its former glory, the country's prime minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi believes.
"Boxing is a very popular sport here in Samoa," he said at a press conference confirming the world title contender would fight in his parents' homeland. Up until the 1980s, Samoan fighters dominated the medal count at the Pacific Games. Sadly, that heyday has passed.
"It has become an embarrassment," Mr Melielegaoi said. Parker's presence would hopefully change that by inspiring a new generation of youngsters.
Parker's fight will be part of a national Samoan tourism push and provide another "huge adrenaline rush" for the country, Alfred Schwalger of Rumble in Paradise naming rights sponsor Sifa said. Parker described the chance to fight in the homeland of parents Sala and Dempsey - the father named after boxing legend Jack Dempsey - as a dream come true.
"This is exciting. I have been fighting all around the world but is a dream for myself and my parents to be fighting in Samoa. Samoa is part of who I am and part of my culture and I want to give back to my people," he said.
Parker's opponent has not been named but his handlers revealed the fight would be the first time he faces a southpaw (left hander boxer), which would make it a challenging assignment. "We have to be very careful with the steps that we take with him and that is a big step," trainer Kevin Barry said.
"The timing is perfect for Joseph to come here. It is something that we have talked about for a long time and means a great deal to Joseph's parents Sala and Dempsey and his uncles."
It will be the fourth time Parker has fought overseas but the first time the fight promotion will be run by Duco, which sees the Samoa event as an important step towards its goal of staging Parker fights in the lucrative United States market.
- NZ Herald
(Please click link to watch video above)
Joseph Parker's journey towards a heavyweight title fight will see him tested in the coming months against two new challenging opponents confirmed by promoters Duco Events today. The 23-year-old South Aucklander will take on 2.03m American, Daniel "The Mountain" Martz at the Fight for Life in Hamilton on December 5 before focusing on rugged American southpaw Jason Bergman at the Rumble in Paradise in Samoa on January 23. Martz will be the tallest opponent Parker has faced while the Bergman fight will be his first professional bout against a left-hander. Both fights loom as intriguing tests for the Kiwi-born Samoan with Martz having a proven reputation as brawler.
In the case of Bergman, Parker has not fought a southpaw since his amateur days. Duco Events director David Higgins said the time was right to expose Parker to some tougher fights and get him accustomed to tangling with bigger and taller opponents. "With Joseph having captured the public's imagination, we realise there is now tremendous interest and scrutiny in how we pick opponents," said Higgins. "So the message the fans can take from today's announcement is that we are serious about readying him for a world title shot. "Even though Joseph is 6'4" [1.93m], he is shorter than the biggest names in the heavyweight division like Wladimir Klitschko (1.98m); Deontay Wilder (2m) and Tyson Fury (2.05m)." Trainer Kevin Barry says a similar rationale is behind the selection of Bergman for the New Year showdown in Samoa.
"There are a number of quality southpaws in the heavyweight division, the most obvious being 6'1" (1.85m) WBA champion, Ruslan Chagaev," said Barry.
"Joe is currently ranked 13th by the WBA and rising fast so Chagaev is most definitely in our sights."Bergman, 31, fits the bill as a tough opponent with 16 wins from his last 18 bouts. The immediate focus though, is Martz with 11 of his 14 wins coming by way of knockout. At just 24, Martz is also the youngest opponent Parker will have faced. Parker will be the seventh undefeated opponent (16 wins, 14 knockouts) the towering American has fought in a three year, 17-fight professional career.
To put that in perspective, pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather fought only three undefeated opponents in a glittering 18-year, 49-fight career.
- NZ Herald
A contrast in size and styles awaits New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker with opponents confirmed for his next two fights. Parker faces his tallest opponent, 2.02m American journeyman Daniel Martz in the feature bout of the Fight For Life promotion in Hamilton on December 5. And, as promised, he will then take on a southpaw for the first time when he fights another American, experienced Jason Bergman, in Samoa on January 23. They are both seen as further steps in advancing the unbeaten Parker who is rising rapidly through the ranks. With the top tier of the division characterised by big men, Parker's handlers are eager to keep challenging him in that department.
"Even though Joseph is 6'4" he is shorter than the biggest names in the heavyweight division like Wladimir Klitschko (6'6"), Deontay Wilder (6'7") and Tyson Fury (6'9"). We want Joseph to capture the world title and that means we must get him accustomed to fighting opponents much bigger than himself," Duco Events promoter David Higgins said. Dubbed "The Mountain", the 24-year-old Martz has been a professional since 2012 and has 14 wins, a draw and two losses with 11 wins by knockout though he has not fought anyone of note. He is ranked No 123 in the independent listings produced by BoxRec which have Parker at No 9.
Martz has fought twice this year and is coming off two wins. Bergman looks a tougher proposition. The 31-year-old is ranked No 75 by BoxRec and is No 11 on their heavyweight southpaw rankings. Bergman has been active since 2006 and has 25 wins, two draws and 11 losses. But 16 of those wins have come in his 18 fights over the last five years. Parker and Bergman share one common opponent – Australian Bowie Tupou. Bergman suffered a second round knockout loss to Tupou in 2007 while Parker KO's Tupou in the first round of their Invercargill fight earlier this year. It's Bergman's left-handed approach that Parker's trainer Kevin Barry is interested in.
"There are a number of quality southpaws in the heavyweight division, the most obvious being 6'1" WBA champion, Rusian Chagaev," Barry said. "Joe is currently ranked 13th by the WBA and rising fast so Chagaev is most definitely in our sights. When that opportunity presents itself we must be ready."
Joseph Parker's stocks continue to rise with the heavyweight and his stable cleaning up major awards at the WBO conference in Florida. Parker was named the WBO's heavyweight fighter of the year for their Oriental region. His stablemate, Australian Jeff Horn, was named the organisation's welterweight of the year for the same region. Parker's managers Duco were named promoters of the year for the region and their matchmaker Stu Duncan collected that category as well. Parker is ranked No 6 on the WBO rankings that are headed by champion Wladimir Klitschko. Parker is likely to lift higher when the WBO revise those rankings shortly and his most recent victory, a second-round TKO of Kali Meehan, is factored in. Horn is ranked No 7 by the WBO. Duco Events boss Dean Lonergan attended the conference in Orlando and proudly accepted the awards. "They were presented to us in front of the entire conference which was great. It's another sign that we are doing things properly," Lonergan said.
"Awards are nice but the most important thing to us is what our guys are doing in the rankings."
Lonergan said the real value in attending the conference was the ability to network around the organisation's powerbrokers and the 30 promoters who attended. "It was fascinating. These were the 30 people running boxing worldwide and dealing with the sanctioning bodies. It was the fist real look we've had at it. It was incredibly aluable."
Parker's next fight is on December 5 in Hamilton where he headlines the Fight For Life promotion. His opponent for that fight will be announced next Tuesday. Duco will also announce the name of Parker's opponent for his following fight in Samoa in January.
Joseph Parker's hopes of fighting in Samoa have taken a major step closer to reality after a "very promising" logistics trip to the island nation. Parker's management have just returned from a week-long visit to Samoa where they met government officials and local businesses to start the groundwork for the world-ranked heavyweight boxer to fight there. Duco Events boss David Higgins has given the January bout "just beyond orange light status" and hopes to confirm the deal next month. "The people were welcoming, they are open-minded and offered lateral thinking for what is a challenging but fascinating exercise," Higgins said. He said Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was particularly supportive and saw the event as a good opportunity to put Samoa in the international spotlight given Parker's increasing status around the world as well has offering an opportunity to boost the local economy.
Television coverage and a venue are particular challenges. Higgins said regular broadcast partner Sky TV had shown "real spirit around the table to make it happen". They would basically need to build a temporary international TV station there, transporting tonnes of equipment and 27 personnel from New Zealand for the exercise. Local station TV3 Samoa would also be involved as a regular partner in showing Parker's fights. Higgins said there were two Apia venues under consideration, given the need for a covered venue at that time of the year. The first was a local court that offered "a beautiful backdrop" under a canopy that covers a 60m x 90m concrete slab. That would requite temporary grandstands and have room for 60 corporate tables with a crowd of about 3-4000. The second option involved the Olympic swimming complex, a "vast" indoor complex that already had a 2000-seat grandstand on one side. That would require the two pools to be covered for the ring and corporate seating with another temporary stand built on the other side. Higgins and his team would now sit down to number-crunch to make the fight economically viable.
"We want to make this happen and having a historic fight on Samoan soil is looking very promising," he said. "Samoa boxes above its weight per capita. They had David Tua fight for a world title, Maselino Masoe win a world title and we believe Joseph Parker is a superstar in the making who will go on to win a world title. "He is hugely popular there and making this happen this would be a dream come true for Joseph, his family and his fans." Higgins said there were Samoan requests to get David Letele, aka the "Brown Butterbean", on the card. The promoters also want another quality international fight and are working towards having the best four local fighters also feature. Parker's next fight is against Australian-based New Zealander Kali Meehan in west Auckland on October 15. He will then headline the Fight For Life promotion in Hamilton in early December to round out another busy year.
Heavyweight boxing contender Joseph Parker plans to follow in the steps of the All Blacks and take his talents to Samoa. The world's sixth-ranked heavyweight is lining up a fight in Apia in January. Parker (15-0 with 13 KOs) was born in Auckland but has a strong connection to Samoa, where he is a national sporting hero. Such is Parker's status that in his last trip to the island nation in December he and his promoter David Higgins were made High Chiefs. They met Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi to discuss staging a bout in the homeland of his parents, Dempsey and Sala. "The dream was that their son might one day fight for the heavyweight title," Higgins said. "Right now, that seems to be on track and they are watching their dream come true. In terms of giving back to Samoa, they'd love to have a fight up there."
The inspiration for the fight came from having worked with former contender David Tua ahead of his 2012 victory over Shane Cameron in the Fight of the Century, Higgins said. "It became apparent to me truly how big boxing is in Samoa. That fight stopped the nation." Higgins said Samoa would rate as the finest boxing nation on the planet in terms of fighters produced per head, but - much like the All Blacks until earlier this year - the island had not staged a major international boxing event. "Forgive the pun but Samoa punches massively above its weight in the world of boxing. But despite that they've never had a major international promotion there. David Tua did not fight in Samoa as a professional." The fight would be beamed into New Zealand, Australia and the United States, where Parker is gaining a significant following. Staging a fight in Samoa would be significantly more expensive than in New Zealand but Higgins was optimistic Duco's corporate partners would help make it happen.
"An average fight night can cost a million dollars and then to do it offshore the cost goes up. It's a matter of getting our partners together and everyone making it happen. "With the support of the Samoan Government and some private business in Samoa plus the support of our regular partners Sky Television and Burger King, I think we can make it happen. We are going to give it our best shot. It will be an adventure." Higgins, who is travelling to Samoa on Monday to continue planning for the event, said it would double as celebration of Samoa's boxing history and heritage. The fight is likely to be held indoors because of the risk of bad weather, but would be paired with an outdoor weigh-in and public event.
"I don't think there is much point going there unless we are going to make it as accessible as possible," Higgins said. "It will be a big deal for the people of Samoa and it should have happened by now. We got our heads together with Team Parker and we are going to have a crack at making it happen."
- NZ Herald
VIDEO: Samoan Fighters
Year in Review: Retiring Tua, Return of Barry, Rise of Parker
By: Andy Rowe
2013 has seen the end of a New Zealand boxing legend, the rise of the next big thing and the return of one of the country's finest coaches.David Tua's career has been winding down since his unflattering points victory over Nigerian Friday Ahunanya in 2010. Since that result in West Auckland, Tua has had one win, one draw and two losses.However, he shouldn't be remembered for the way his career ended. The history of the heavyweight division is littered with great fighters that have stayed active for four or five years too long. His retirement following his loss to Alexandra Ustinov brought the curtain down on one of New Zealand's great sporting careers.
For over 20 years Tua carved out a name for himself all over the world as one of the most devastating punchers of all time. He knocked out 43 of his 59 opponents (52 of those he defeated). He was outclassed by Lennox Lewis in his 2000 world title shot, but Lennox Lewis outclassed many great fighters (Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield just to name a couple).I think deep down he knew he wasn't the fighter he used to be, but he wanted to make sure he wasn't leaving the sport with unfinished business. His last fight did just that.Joseph Parker has replaced Tua in 2013 as the heavyweight fighter New Zealand is now pinning its hopes on. Parker has the speed and power to match any other fighter on the planet. It's still early days with this kid, but if he can keep the right people around him there is no reason why he can't fulfil his potential.The media has fallen in love with this exciting and humble young man (but they'll turn on him just as quick if he doesn't meet their expectations) and so too has the New Zealand public.
The key for Parker now is to stick with his current support team. When Mike Tyson lost his trainer Cus D'Amato, his career spiralled. As did David Tua's to some extent when he split with Parker's current trainer Kevin Barry. He must stick with the partnership that in 2013 has seen him transform from an amateur fighter, to a finely tuned professional athlete.The return of trainer Kevin Barry in 2013 has been a master stroke from Parker's management team Duco Events (Dean Lonergan and David Higgins).Barry was seemingly lost to New Zealand boxing for the years following his split with David Tua. He often doesn't receive the credit he deserves for the positive influence he had over Tua. Barry is actually one the world's most respected trainers. He's one of New Zealand's best sports coaches.It's been no coincidence that every time we see Parker following a training camp, he has made massive improvements both physically and with his general boxing skills. Barry started by stripping the weight off Parker. Now he's adding pure muscle back on, all the while honing the skills that make him such an exciting prospect. He's rebuilding Parker as a fighter.Barry's golden touch was evident when he trained American journeyman Brian Minto to a TKO win over Kiwi Shane Cameron earlier this month. If Barry was in the other corner, it may well have been a different story.In short, 2013 has seen David Tua hand over the heavyweight reins to Joseph Parker as our next big thing in the boxing world. Let’s hope Parker can emulate some of the feats Tua was able to over the next twenty years. No pressure.
2013 review: Parker picks up heavyweight baton
The same year a New Zealand boxing legend announced that his career was done, another South Aucklander and potential star of the sport announced himself to the New Zealand public.David Tua's convincing points loss to Belarusian Alexander Ustinov in November was quickly followed by the 40-year-old calling time on his career.He had one last tilt but come up well short as Ustinov jabbed his way to victory.After a 21-year career in the professional ranks, Tua's time was up as he looked at life after boxing. It prompted many to reflect on Samoan-born Kiwi's remarkable career.Unfortunately, much of his legacy hangs around the bust-up with his management, Kevin Barry and Martin Pugh, and also the fact that he struggled in his sole world title shot, against Lennox Lewis in 2000.That heavyweight title fight, however, should in fact ensure Tua is remembered as one of New Zealand sports more notable figures.
Anyone who put themselves in a position to fight for the world title during the late 1990s and early 2000s deserves to finish their time with plenty of credit.The heavyweight boxing baton has now been passed to 21-year-old Joseph Parker as he looks to carve out a similar career to Tua, and in 2013 his name was thrust in front of New Zealand for all to see.He had four fights, winning three of them in the first or second round.The one that grabbed the most attention was against South African veteran Francois Botha in June.Kevin Barry came on board in April as Parker's trainer, and looks to be having a positive impact as far as Parker's physique goes in particular.- © Fairfax NZ News
Michele Hewitson interview: Kevin Barry
By Michele Hewitson
Would I like to talk to the boxing trainer, Kevin Barry? asked the boxing promoter, Dean Lonergan. Yes, but I wasn't at all sure he was talking to me. He was pretty grumpy with me after I talked to David Tua - in 2005, after they famously fell out over money and ended up in court. He has been beyond grumpy with the Herald at various times. I felt pretty sure Barry wasn't talking to Lonergan. They had a right ding dong in public, through the media, mere months ago.So, given that a good percentage of people who would be involved in the transaction quite possibly weren't speaking to each other, I couldn't see how this was going to happen. Silly me. This is the boxing world, which is quite mad and mostly about theatre.We were to meet at the hotel where he's staying while he trains the American boxer Brian Minto for tonight's Fight for Life bout with Shane Cameron. I thought: He's no doubt had his arm twisted and been told to turn up for publicity purposes. I wasn't expecting him to be particularly enthusiastic, which proves once and for all that I know nothing about the boxing world.Not speaking to Lonergan? They're the greatest of mates and are always shouting at each other and slagging each other off in the media.
Barry said: "You know, there is a certain element of promotion to the game of boxing."When he arrived he was all smiles (and his is not a smiley sort of face) and gave me a peck on the cheek and a photograph of him and his latest boxing protege, Joseph Parker. He said: "I don't know if you collect these." Perhaps he thinks everyone has a wall of signed photographs of boxers at home. Why not? He does. They had both signed mine. He had written, in silver pen: "Tough Times Don't Last, Tough People Do."He looks just the same. I last saw him 13 years ago, in an Auckland penthouse, and the interview took place with an almost life-sized cardboard cut-out of Tua standing behind his right shoulder. He was intense and emphatic and he spoke with near-evangelical passion about his boxer.His face has that slightly battered-about-the-edges look former boxers have (he won a silver medal, in contentious circumstances, at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics; he stuck it in a drawer as soon as he came home; now it lives in another drawer in another home, in Vegas.) He is older, of course, and the battering is not just from the boxing but from life and, I fancied, the bitterness and disappointment of broken dreams. That really is too fanciful. I should have paid greater attention to that inscription. Tough buggers like him do last. He is an optimist. You'd have to be, to be a survivor in the boxing world. I thought he had a short fuse. He has always come out swinging and in those golden, olden days when he and Tua were inseparable, if you doubted Tua, you doubted Barry and you'd get a serve.He said: "I've got Irish blood but, no, I don't have a bad temper. I used to be far more aggressive. I'm an aggressive guy by nature. I'm very competitive ... I was very confrontational for David Tua. I was so defensive all the time. I'm not going to be like that with Joseph."I thought that might be like expecting a tiger to turn into a kitten. Was he sure? "Yeah but also, within myself, I'm far more at ease within myself. There are a lot of people who used to annoy me, okay?" he said, "that don't now."
He was looking at me in a way which suggested I wasn't annoying him just at that moment, but also that it might be a good idea not to chance it.I chanced it. I thought asking him whether he had been crooked would have earned me the verbal equivalent of a bloodied nose, but it didn't. So I'll take his word for his rebirth as a kitten. Let's not forget that even the cutest kittens have sharp little teeth and claws - a qualification which he will no doubt be gratified to have included. He may have mellowed but he hasn't, God forbid, gone soft.Anyway, he is "embracing a new chapter of my life and I think I'm changing". He hadn't taken up meditation or something like that, had he? "No, I haven't taken up meditation," he said, sounding more amazed by the very idea than annoyed. He is, he says, "100 per cent comfortable with myself. When I say I made mistakes, I made personal mistakes. I also made a lot of financial mistakes. I felt like I let my family down, for a lot of reasons".What did earn me the old unblinking, croc-eyed Barry glare of old was asking whether he'd cried over the end of the Tua/Barry dream. They were family, and ended up in that nightmare of a court battle, the aftermath of which was much bitterness, a confidential settlement, and the lawyers' pockets nicely lined.His reputation took a proper battering. He minded that, of course. I read him an excerpt from a piece about the court case in which he, and former business partner Martin Pugh, were described as turning up to court wearing "gold medallions, winkle-picker brogues with white socks ... [looking like] wily, slimy creatures that had crawled out from beneath boxing's nasty underbelly".
That can't have helped. He said: "Well, I don't know. I wore a suit several times. I actually wore some of my Vegas suits, which were pin-striped, and purple shirts." Dear oh dear. So he looked like a gangster! He looked at me as though I was the mad one. "You know, I don't think that really had an influence on anything!"But what I thought he must have minded most was the end of his relationship with Tua. They lived together, Tua was godfather to Barry's twin sons. They loved each other. It was sad. He might have cried. That was what got me the look. "No. No. No. I don't cry." He's so tough. "Yeah. No, I am. I'm really frigging tough."I hadn't meant to go on about Tua quite so much, or not quite so early. He says he's not defined by him, and that's fair enough, if hopeful. He still has pictures of the two of them on the walls of his office at home in Vegas. Tua is, in many ways, still always standing just behind his right shoulder, whether either of them like it or not. He said: "What I created worked against me."And there is this: Having built up one young fighter and sold him to all of us as an icon, a superstar, a genuine all-round nice guy, loved by everyone from grans to kids, he's at it again. He said: "Mark my words. Joseph Parker is going to be a superstar! He's going to win a world title."Joseph Parker is the real deal!"I could have gone back to that 2000 interview and changed the details of the location and the name of the boxer from Tua to Parker and cut and pasted pretty much all of the rest.There are the cardboard cut-outs again - of Joseph Parker, in supermarkets. And guess where he lives? In Vegas, with Barry and Barry's long-suffering wife, Tanya, the former Olympic gymnast. She must really love him and she obviously does. You take a swipe at him at your peril.Somebody wrote something on his Facebook page recently about how Duco Events (and therefore the aforementioned Dean Lonergan) had saved his career.
Then he started getting messages: "Have you seen what Tanya's written on Facebook?" She'd set the record straight all right. He phoned her and said "Tan, please, please, don't ever do that. Anything negative, you don't respond to. And the very next day, I click on it again, and she's answered another thing!"Vegas is home and always will be now. It's the home of shiny things and showbiz and fortunes made and lost. It's all glitter and bling but his bling days are over. He used to wear gold chains and those Vegas suits. Now he wears jeans and a T-shirt and a ridiculously heavy watch, a Nixon, which he loves because one of his sons gave it to him. They have a nice house, 15 minutes from the strip, in a nice gated community, where he has had a huge patio built, of slate, with an outdoor bar with a beer fridge which holds 100 bottles of beer, and a 42-inch flat screen TV, outdoor speakers and a barbecue with infra-red burners.They have a good, comfortable, if not rolling in it life. He has plenty of work, training corporate types - his good friend, the gynaecologist, for a while the top boob job doctor in Vegas - and boxers. He doesn't gamble in the casinos. He says his life is enough of a gamble.
He said that outside boxing he is "quite a dull person. I don't play golf and I love hanging out with my kids". He had an email from Tanya, listing the kids' achievements, in case I asked. Daughter Jordy, the "academic athlete of the family", is about to graduate with a double degree, majoring in political science and economics and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, "for students with superior academic achievements". The twins, Mitch and Taylor, have both played American football for their universities, and for the Nevada Spartans. He's proud as punch, of course.He had a thought. He did, after all, have a hobby: gardening. He has a gardener, so his idea of gardening is going out every morning and picking up any debris and removing every single dead leaf. "I keep my yard very, very tidy. I have this ritual in the morning and Joseph has become part of this ritual. "That's a nice image: the big Samoan boxer wandering about, amid the flowers, in a garden in Vegas. He is, as we know, very good at selling boxers as people loved by everyone from grans to kids.His kids love Joseph Parker. He's part of the family. He said: "Can you imagine what I went through with my wife before we did that?" I could have a pretty good guess. She said: "Do you really want to put yourself through this with another Samoan boy?"She had said what everyone must be thinking."Well, I'm just a passionate person. Everything I do, I do all out. I don't do anything half-cocked. I'm all in." Yes, that might be the problem. "I said: 'Look, I'm going to detach myself from the emotional connection'." He knew that wasn't possible; Tanya knew it wasn't possible; everyone who's ever met him would know that wasn't possible.He had said, the last time I talked to him, that Tua was "another opportunity for me to live my experience, and to correct it". I simply cut and pasted that. After all, and after all that went before, it still seems entirely apt.The Woodstock Fight for Life is on tonight at the Trusts Arena, Auckland and screens on Sky Pay-per-view from 7pm.
“I remember when I first met Tua, I said:
‘Dave I want to be like you'..." - JOSEPH PARKER
By Talei Anderson for Matheson Sports Media
New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker is back home after a long training stint in Las Vegas with trainer Kevin Barry.While Barry helps to prepare Brian Minto for his upcoming fight against Shane Cameron in the Woodstock Fight for Life event on December 14, Parker continues to stay focused on what’s important in his life and his career. At only 21 years old it’s not easy being away from home and family. It takes a lot of courage to leave New Zealand and set up life on the other side of the world, especially when there is no guaranteed success at the end of it. But with the support of his family, church and the pacific community he is driven to stay there and do what he has to do to become the best. “Being away from home sucks, I hate it! But I have to do it, if I want to be the best,” Parker told Matheson Sports Media.“The support I’m getting from everyone in New Zealand pushes me to focus and stay there and do what I have to do. It’s hard but worth it once you see the results.”Barry has made the move to Las Vegas easier for Parker.
The connection between them has developed into a close relationship where Parker now acknowledges him as family.“He’s like a family member, sort of like my second dad. I’m spending a lot of time with him, he’s teaching me a lot of things about boxing and other things in general.“I have a lot of respect for him, he’s one of the best I’ve ever trained with, even (Hall of Fame trainer) Freddy Roache mentioned he’s a good trainer so we’re on the right track with all the things that we’re doing.“Kevin keeps me focused, if I’m doing something wrong he always keeps me in line”.It’s no surprise that there is a lot of hype around Parker. He had a great amateur career and people have always earmarked him for being the greatest. After losing the fight which would have qualified him for the Olympics, Parker admits that defeat has given him more motivation to train hard and to stay focused. “I took it for granted. I was beating people in NZ and winning fights all over the world but the competitions that mattered the most I didn’t train hard enough for, I thought I was ready but I wasn’t.“It’s opened my eyes that you can’t muck around when you’re in this sport. You have to give your all and do your best. Missing the Olympics has motivated me to settle down, stop doing the wrong things, stop hanging out with the wrong people and just focus on what I have to do to get better”.
PictureTwo years since the defeat and Parker is back on the road to success believing that he is a better boxer now than ever before.“At the beginning of my pro career I was an alright boxer, I was wining fights but now that I’m training with Kevin I’m learning more, my styles better, I know what I’m doing in the ring and getting a lot more power. “Back then I’d say I was about 30-40% and now I’m about 80-90% I can feel the difference and I am happy with the progress”.
Since then, Parker has had some great fights including the knockout of Francois Botha in the second round in June, proof that his training with Barry has improved his fitness and boxing overall.“My favourite fight as a professional was the Botha fight. I went to Vegas and I only had eight weeks to train with Kevin. “We practiced that punch for eight weeks - the overhand right; the reason why it’s my favourite is because when I landed it and saw him dazed, it was like a dream come true.”Parker’s fitness is so good that Duco Events’ Dean Lonergan talks about him fighting for the world title in 18 months but Parker feels that it is still a bit too early for the world championship.“I don’t know about 18 months, maybe a bit longer in my eyes. I’m just being realistic, when I look at other world champion’s careers and the fights that they’ve had, yeah I think it’ll take a little bit longer.“When I rate myself against them, I know that they’re still up there and still stronger, they’ve got more skills, they’ve been in the game for a long time and I know it takes time.
”The name ‘Joseph Parker’ has become a household name now and fame has become part of the package, but for Parker it has never been about fame. His first priority has been to care and look after his family.“When I first started boxing, I didn’t think about being famous. I thought I could make some money, get my parents a nice house and look after them.“I’m just grateful to have good people around me who keep me grounded. If it wasn’t for my parents I’d probably be a cocky fella but I have good friends and family members who tell me when I’m doing something wrong”.As Parker has become more successful in his career, the harder it has become for him to know who to trust but he’s been dealing with that by keeping with the same team.“I’ve always said that I’d keep to the same team and that’s what I’m doing. The team that I had at the beginning of my professional career is the same team I have now and I’m not adding on or taking anyone away.
“I’m just keeping to my small group because I know that if you get better, people want stuff, people want to join your team but you’ve got to learn to say sorry.“My team is small, but it’s effective! They all help me and guide me in the right path, so I’m happy”.For Parker, it has always been important to turn to other boxers when needing advice or support. He mentions Maselino Masoe – the former World Middleweight Champion - and Shane Cameron.“They’ve both set the standard high, so now I have to try my best to train hard and reach what they do and what they’ve done”.But for Parker no one compares to boxing legend David Tua who recently announced his retirement after his loss to the giant Belarusian Alexander Ustinov just last month.
“When I was a little kid, I remember surrounding the TV with my family and watching David Tua’s fight against Lennox Lewis. I remember thinking to myself ‘man this guy is so good, he’s the man’. “I remember when I first met Tua, I said: ‘Dave I want to be like you, I want to fight for the world champ one day and follow your footsteps’ and he said to me: ‘Jo, don’t aim to be like me, aim to be better than me.’ That’s always stuck with me.“David has set a high standard, it’s hard to be better than someone who has already made it to the world championship but I’m trying my best to follow his advice and maybe one day, be better than him. “Parker is set to leave for Vegas in the New Year, where he will continue training with Barry for his upcoming fight against Brazilian Heavyweight Champion George Arias. Until then he looks forward to going on holiday to Samoa and spending time with his family. Hardworking, dedicated and humble are the three words which best describe Parker. At only 21 years of age he continues to strive towards his dream to make it to the world championship.
Invercargill could host Parker's top-10 break
Boxing promoter Dean Lonergan is now targeting August or September next year for a Joseph Parker showdown with a top-10 world-ranked heavyweight fighter in Invercargill.Lonergan is a director of Duco Events, which has said for some time it wants to bring a big-time boxing show to Invercargill. However, original talks fell flat during the delay in the rebuild of Stadium Southland.Parker is almost certain to fight Brazilian George Arias in Nelson in March followed by a bout in Auckland midway through the year - potentially against Shane Cameron.Lonergan said Invercargill was being targeted as the venue for Parker's third fight next year, if all went to plan.He had hoped he would have already got to Invercargill to talk with key community leaders about the prospect but has been held up putting on recent shows, including Saturday night's heavyweight clash between David Tua and Alexander Ustinov in Hamilton.
To make it work, Lonergan said, they would need some local sponsorship support and also indicated they were keen to talk about a multi-year deal partnership with sponsors in Southland to bring more events south."For a September event, the ball would have to start rolling very soon. We'd want to get on to it and, I'll be honest, I'll probably be down in the next two or three weeks to see if we can get it sorted."We need to get some partnerships going down there. We're not experts at running events in Invercargill, we're pretty good at running events but we would need local people involved."From our point of view, we think we can make it work by taking boxing around the country; you don't always need to go to the big centres to make it work."Lonergan said their eagerness to hold events in Invercargill come from a belief they would get a good spectator turnout.
"Southlanders get out and support events and would you believe this rational goes back to the 60s and 70s with Bob Jones. He said to us: 'If you ever want to do a really good event that sells out, go to Invercargill, they will get in behind and support it.' I know [trainer] Kevin Barry is keen, him and Joseph enjoy going down there."If the stars do align, and a August-September date can be sorted, Invercargill will then likely play host to Parker's biggest fight of his career as his management try to fast-track him through the ranks."If it happens, it will be Joseph Parker cracking the top 10 in the world [in Invercargill]," Lonergan said."We fight George Arias next year in March, I'd like to think fight two next year in about June would be top 15 and No 3 next year in August-September would be top 10. I've got confidence in Joseph and Kevin in what they are doing, I really think we are eight fights away from fighting for a world title."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Big celeb names line up to fight for Christchurch
A galaxy of stars will put their bodies on the line for charity in this year's Fight for Christchurch fundraiser.It is understood Shortland Street and Nothing Trivial actor Blair Strang, former All Blacks hooker Hika Elliot, Olympic track sprint cyclist Natasha Hansen and Canterbury Tactix netballer Keisha Grant will climb in the ring at Christchurch's CBS Arena on November 28.The bouts are also likely to be headlined by rising Kiwi heavyweight sensation Joseph Parker.
Organisers are also hopeful of securing movie and TV screen queen Miriama Smith for the fight night that raises money for Kids Can, Canterbury Earthquake Children's House and the Ronald McDonald House. Last year's event raised $140,000.But plans to pit radio and television host Duncan Garner against pop star Stan Walker were stopped by the chart-topper's heavy touring schedule. Garner confirmed he was approached, but also ruled out taking part this year. He and Walker indicated it was something they intend to do in the future.''I'm always down for something like that. I'd love to do one but time is a big thing that I don't have," Walker told Fairfax Media this week.Sydney-based Walker, an Australian Idol winner and X Factor NZ judge, has been in training with league legend and former professional boxer Monty Betham in Auckland. But with 25 shows on Walker's upcoming tour of New Zealand, it proved too difficult to fit the fight night into his schedule.
Hansen will square off against Grant on the eight-fight card that will include two professional fights.Parker will be the major drawcard. The 21-year-old South Aucklander takes on Afa Tatupu for the New Zealand National Boxing Federation title on October 10 at Auckland's Trusts Arena.His promoters, Duco Events, are lining up an overseas opponent for a 10-round fight in late November that is now favoured to be on the Fight for Christchurch card.Fairfax Media understands Parker and his trainer Kevin Barry, who was born in Christchurch, are keen to fight in the charity event."We are hoping to confirm Joseph Parker in the ring," Fight for Christchurch director Justin Wallace revealed. "That's under negotiations with Duco at the moment."Wallace is struggling to find an opponent for Elliot, who lost on points to Australian league hardman Paul Gallen in last year's Fight for Life.An approach was made to Nasi Manu but the Canterbury No.8's father didn't give his blessing.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Heavyweight backing for promising Kiwi boxer
Promoters Duco Events are set to throw their financial weight behind New Zealand amateur boxing sensation Patrick Mailata.Duco are expected to soon confirm they will fund the young heavyweight's quest to win a Commonwealth Games medal in Glasgow next year, and then an Olympic medal in Rio in 2016.The blueprint would then see Duco Events cash in by turning Mailata into a star in the professional ranks after the Olympics.Despite being just 18 and having only 19 fights next to his name, the powerful South Auckland kid has big raps and Duco Events directors Dean Lonergan and David Higgins are keen to be aligned with him.
The duo recently arranged for trainer Kevin Barry to meet Mailata and take him through a training session to get Barry's thoughts.Mailata has also received a recommendation from Duco's current rising heavyweight star, Joseph Parker, with the pair squaring off at the end of Parker's amateur career two years ago.Lonergan confirmed they are in talks with Mailata, his family, and New Zealand Boxing Association officials about the prospect of helping get him to various overseas tournaments."One thing that holds New Zealand amateur boxing back is a lack of funding," Lonergan said.
"In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, to get a guy up to the standard of winning gold at these tournaments overseas is going to cost a minimum of $150,000 a year."That's flying him around, accommodating them and training them. It's horrendously expensive, and I've got to be honest, we are starting to put a plan in place to do that."Mailata's trainer, Grant Arkell, said he was in the dark as to whether Mailata would in fact link with Duco.Arkell trained Parker before the highly-touted heavyweight linked with Sir Bob Jones, and then Duco Events.The Auckland trainer said the initial Duco approach had provided some difficulties in recent weeks.Arkell had already sourced anonymous funders for Mailata to help him through the Commonwealth and Olympic campaigns - but they had now pulled the pin following the youngster's early discussions with Duco.Lonergan said they did not have any plans of turning Mailata professional at the moment and wanted him to carve out a career in the amateur ranks first.
"The biggest thing is Patrick wants to stay amateur, he wants to win Commonwealth gold and then Olympic gold," Lonergan said."It is really important that if you are going to be a world-class boxer you need an amateur career."This is coming from Kevin Barry, but the reason is really simple. As an amateur you might go through and have 100 fights and over those 100 fights you might lose 10 or 15 of them and no one is really going to care because you are learning your craft. But when you turn professional you can't afford the losses, you need a clean record."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Cameron offered biggest payday to fight Parker
Shane Cameron has been given a shot at the biggest single payday for a New Zealand-based boxing bout.Duco Events is offering a unique $550,000 winner-takes-all purse for Cameron to fight Joseph Parker within the next six months.After Parker's stunning second-round TKO of South African veteran Francois Botha in Auckland on Thursday, Duco offered Cameron a low six-figure payday to fight Parker.Cameron rejected that bid, but Duco - Parker's promoters - have now raised the stakes significantly.New Zealand boxing's previous biggest payday was "The Fight of the Century" between Cameron and David Tua.
Both took home $500,000 for the 2009 bout. Cameron is understood to have earned more in last year's cruiserweight world title loss to Danny Green, but that bout was held in Australia."We are prepared to put a winner-takes-all $550,000 on the table," Duco promoter David Higgins said yesterday."The winner-takes-all idea is quite interesting. It's not been done before [in New Zealand]. Fighters normally like to be paid no matter what."I'd rather give it another six months and give Parker more experience. [Higgins' business partner] Dean Lonergan reckons Joseph would knock Cameron out quick if they fought this year."[Cameron's manager] Ken Reinsfield will say Joseph hasn't earned the right to fight Shane but, at the end of the day, professional boxing is about money."The way Joseph dealt with Botha, that made a statement enough for a Cameron-Parker to capture the public interest."
Reinsfield was irate when contacted by the Sunday Star-Times yesterday. He made it clear Cameron was a championship boxer with a 29-3 record who would not fight over anything less than 12-rounds. He also suggested Duco did not have Parker's best interest at heart."It's not about the fight; it's about the money they [Duco] want to make," Reinsfield said. "They are using Joseph as a tool. They are not trying to develop him. They want to get a cash return back very quickly. It's not fair on Joseph."If they have an offer and they want to act like men, talk to me."Shane has been involved in the three biggest pay-per-views in New Zealand history."I'm sick of Duco living off the fat from Shane's back and hard work. Shane Cameron is the property, not Joseph Parker.
Let's be honest, he [Parker] is a novice professional. For 10 years solid Shane has fought wars. He has earned his standing in the boxing world. He is a legend and deserves to be so."When Joseph Parker is ready to step up to the big boys and fight 12 rounds I'll pay him handsomely. He can fight on my promotion and we'll take the fat off the pay-per-views."Cameron told the Star-Times yesterday he respected Parker but felt the 21-year-old, who has not been past six rounds in as many undefeated professional fights, needed more time."It's a fight that will happen [him vs Parker] when he earns his stripes," Cameron said. "If he has another half-a-dozen good fights then it's definitely potentially do-able."Parker will return to Las Vegas to start another two-month training camp with Kevin Barry on July 1. His next fight is scheduled to be on David Tua's comeback undercard on August 31.Parker indicated yesterday that Duco, Barry and his family would decide his future."I will do all of the training and leave those decisions up to Duco and the family to discuss," he said. "We are off to a great start and I want to sit down when everyone is back to normal again and discuss what we want to do, where we want to go from here."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Shane Cameron: I will fight Parker tomorrow
Put your money where your mouth is.That's the message from a riled Shane Cameron to Joseph Parker's management.Last week the Sunday Star-Times revealed Parker's promoters, Duco Events, offered a $550,000 "winner take all" purse - the largest payday in New Zealand boxing history - to stage a Cameron-Parker match up over eight rounds this year.Cameron initially felt the 21-year-old Parker wasn't ready to make the significant jump just six fights into his pro career.But after pondering the substantial offer, Cameron is challenging Duco to drop the winner take all caveat."I don't play those games. I'm a seasoned pro. I'm not interested in that winner takes all. If they want to pay that money they pay it to me directly," Cameron told the Star-Times. "The Duco boys obviously want a quick return on their investment to be looking at chucking Joseph Parker in the deep end with myself."It's not going to be an easy fight for him.
If that's what they're looking at doing then they don't have Joseph's best interests at heart. But if they want to do it they can pay me that money and pay Joseph whatever he's worth. "Dean [Lonergan] is shooting his big mouth off, why don't we get it on tomorrow over 12 rounds?"Twice previously Cameron banked comparable paydays. He pocketed $500,000 for the "Fight of the Century" with David Tua in 2009 and earned more in his last fight, the cruiserweight world title loss to Danny Green last year. "I believe I'm worth that. I've got that money before and I can get it again," Cameron said. "I don't need to lower myself to try and make it easy.
It's a fight I don't really need but if they want to pay the money I'm here, I'm fit. I can go anytime."There's a lot of hard work that goes into professional boxing. In takes many, many years to build someone's career up. It took me a long time to get the big money fights."Joseph is a good fighter. He's the next prospect coming through New Zealand boxing."In another five years he's going to be a tremendous fighter but those sorts of things take time."Parker hasn't been past six rounds in his budding pro career. Duco promoter David Higgins indicated he was not willing to pay Cameron $550,000 outright and felt Parker was not ready to fight 12 rounds."We will absolutely take the fight with Shane at 12 rounds but Joseph will have three or four more fights this year. He will be on track to be a 12 round fighter early next year," Higgins said. "The winner take all idea was a mark of our confidence in Joseph's ability to do the business against Shane.
"There's no way Shane is worth $550,000 on his own. He was paid an extortionately high $500,000 to fight David Tua. That was just circumstances."He's coming off a loss. He hasn't fought in a long time [seven months]. He's being a bit greedy to suggest he's worth that sort of figure on his own."If they wanted to split the money between them we would entertain it. Why don't Shane and [manager] Ken [Reinsfield] put up $550,000 and we'll do the same."Reinsfield rebuffed that suggestion and claimed Duco were now backtracking."Dean Lonergan and David Higgins have both said Joseph would knock Shane out and end his career - 12 rounds doesn't make any difference," he said."We're not the ones that come out with the bold statements. Now that we've replied to their call out they are coming up with excuses."Last week Joseph was going to knock out Shane, this week he's not ready. The difference here is Shane and I are on the same page."Higgins replied with one final jibe."Ken has a knack for injecting acrimony into any negations," he said.Realistically it seems a Cameron-Parker fight won't happen until early next year but momentum is, clearly, building.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Joseph Parker sets his sights on Brazilian Arias
Brazilian George Arias is being eyed as the next opponent for rising New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker.Parker claimed one of the two main New Zealand sanctioning bodies' heavyweight belts with his second-round demolition of Afa Tatupu in west Auckland last Thursday. Arias comes with both the Brazilian and South American heavyweight belts.
The Arias fight was to be announced on Tuesday - a November 28 clash in Christchurch.That fight has now had to be postponed because of the large cut above Parker's left eye, courtesy of a head clash with Tatupu.Parker can't spar for a month, and will now return to Las Vegas for training. He will also consult plastic surgeons there to see if the cut requires further attention in order to avoid a long-term problem.Arias was due to arrive in Auckland this weekend. Parker's promoters Duco Events had to hurriedly cancel that flight and put the 39-year-old on hold.
They definitely want to see Parker in the ring with Arias but that won't happen until February or March, probably in the South Island. There is a chance that Parker, providing his cut heals well, could have a tune-up fight in Vegas.Arias looks a worthy opponent. He is 39 and well respected. He has had 64 fights as a professional for 53 wins (39 KOs) and 11 losses (4 KOs).He's a heavy hitter and fits in with the philosophy of Parker's management to keep the pressure on their impressive product.
Trainer Kevin Barry believes Parker could line up a world title fight within five years if he is handled correctly.
"Our plan is not to feed Joseph 20 taxi drivers . . . we want to put Joseph in fights where he's actually learning something every time he enters the ring," Barry said.
"I don't want him fighting 20 guys who can't fight and all of a sudden we put him in a real fight and then he has to fight a real fighter and he hasn't been prepared.
"We have him on a fast track, we don't believe we have to bring him along slowly. He is doing great work in the gym, he is getting great sparring, that is where he is going to get his learning and development and every time he fights will be a test.
"Within five years we will be in a position to well and truly fight for the world title."Barry, who took David Tua to a world title shot, has no doubts about the potential he is working with now."Joseph is the most exciting fighter to come out of New Zealand in the last 20 years. He has got enormous potential. When he gets it all right, Joseph Parker is a very, very good fighter . . . (he) will be a good world-class fighter in a short time in the future."
Boxing: Parker confirms March fight
Joseph Parker will take a step up for his next fight when he takes on former South American champion George Arias in March. Parker, who claimed one of the two main New Zealand heavyweight belts with a second-round defeat of Afa Tatupu last week, was due to fight Arias in November. But after a head clash left him with a deep gash, the bout was rescheduled and a new deal was signed last night.
It is a signature Parker's handlers hope they won't regret. "A few people who I have great respect for warned me not to take this fight,'' Duco Events promoter Dean Lonergan said. "But if Joseph is going to progress as quickly towards a world title shot as I think he can, he has to be tested now. "Is it a risk? Yes. But I've put my trust in the boy to do the job.''
The 39-year-old Arias is a shorter heavyweight with a reputation as a durable and dangerous opponent and he's not like anyone Parker has fought before. Arias has fought 64 times in a 17-year career, with most of his wins over South American opponents little recognised in this part of the world. He has lost 11 times. He has also met a couple of bigger names - losing to former British heavyweight hope Audley Harrison after taking the fight with four days' notice. Arias has also only been knocked out twice - by big Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez (who went on to fight Vitali Klitschko, losing the fight for the WBC world title in 2009 by a TKO in the ninth) and Fres Oquendo, one of David Tua's victims in 2002.
But Arias has now won his last 12 fights, many against young, inexperienced contenders and all defending his Brazilian and South American titles. Even though he is not a big name, Arias will be a step up for Parker. Parker is undefeated after seven fights following his destructive performance against Tatupu. "We are under no illusions about the challenge that Arias provides,''
Lonergan said. "But in this game you can't afford to sit on the sidelines and duck challenges. "Joseph needs to stay busy. And he needs to keep testing himself. Because of the calibre of the opponent, the decision to take the fight will place a bit of adversity and pressure on him. But, in this game, that's not a bad thing because sometimes you just have to go to war.'' - APNZ
Parker confident about fight injury
By Robert Lowe
Boxer Joseph Parker is confident the deep cut above his left eye will have no long-term effect on his promising heavyweight career. Parker suffered the cut in a head clash during his two-round knock-out of fellow Aucklander Afa Tatupu last week to claim the New Zealand NBF title and take his record to 7-0.
The injury means the 21-year-old's next bout, against Brazilian George Arias, has been postponed from November to March. "I know I heal pretty good," Parker said on Tuesday. "I believe if I take good care of it and do the right things, it won't be a big problem in the future." Parker knows that part of his face, having been cut, will now be a target for opponents. The counter to that would be to fight smart, follow the game plan and avoid getting in range to be hit there.
It was his failure to adhere to the game plan worked out with trainer Kevin Barry, and instead deciding to go toe-to-toe with Tatupu, that led to the head clash.
"It's a learning process," he said."I'm grateful I did the mistake now rather than in future when I'm fighting at a bigger event."Parker said his next opponent would be a step up.Arias, 39, has a record of 53 wins (39 by KO) and 11 defeats, and has won his last 12 fights."He's experienced, he's got a great record, but you have to take these steps to test yourself," Parker said.Meanwhile, Barry said the main concern with Parker's cut over the next fortnight was the threat of infection.However, indications were positive that the boxer would make a good recovery.
Barry said a plastic surgeon who had seen Parker told him that the doctor who stitched the wound closed on the night did an excellent job."The signs look promising," Barry said. "I'm really happy with the way that it's healing."
Joseph Parker will be forced to modify his fighting style before his next fight against Brazilian George Arias in March.Parker has proven he can stand toe-to-toe, mixing it with a legitimate knockout puncher in Afa Tatupu - he has the scar to prove it. But as a result, trainer Kevin Barry confirmed the cut from a head clash would demand a new focus on defence.
"With the uncertainty of the cut - and Joseph and I haven't sat down and put a plan in place here yet - but there is every indication that I may look to modify Joseph's style," Barry said."I don't want guys having the opportunity to tie him in with the right hand on the eye. I don't want the eye being tested at all. There will be some adjustments to his style."
Parker likes to drop his left hand down, possibly to bait his opponents. It also drops when he is swinging, as shown in the Francois Botha knockout. But now it will be used to protect his eye a lot more, a move which Parker said was "a must"."Now we have this little bit of a problem, the cut. We have to modify and make changes because I like to keep my left hand low. Now we are going to have to keep it up there," the heavyweight champion said.
The cut, which required 14 stitches over his left eye, was sustained in Parker's New Zealand National Boxing Federation heavyweight title victory over Tatupu last week. Instead of out-boxing his opponent from the outside, Parker traded blows with Tatupu."The obvious result of that was the cut and Joseph has already taken ownership of that," Barry said, who also said he doesn't believe a lack of discipline will ever be a problem again for his 21-year-old charge, chalking it up to a learning curve.
"Some guys will have to be sat on their arse to get a learning experience, other guys take a loss. We have got a cut. I don't think it will be a problem again," Barry said.
Parker has also admitted there was an element of pride to his move away from a strict fight plan.He said the reason he stood there and "brawled" with a fighter who had knocked out seven of nine opponents he had beaten was that he wanted to prove his chin.
"Even though me and Kev already know that I can take a punch with all the sparring we have done, other people had questioned my chin and maybe that is one of the reasons why I did that."Barry said he was shocked when Parker "went to war" but revealed a little more about what went through Parker's head when Tatupu came out like a bull elephant, charging and swinging. "Joseph felt, the first time Afa hit him, he goes ‘This guy has got nothing to hurt me with'," said Barry.
"He didn't like the fact Afa jumped at him and caught him with a shot and Joseph decided to stand there and trade with him.
"What Joseph may have let get to him more than anything else was what people were saying about his chin."He was saying ‘I'm not afraid to stand there and mix it in close quarters'."Parker proved his point when Tatupu went down in the second round, but it came at a price; a cut that has had immediate repercussions for his career and a likely change to the way he sets up to fight.
Duco Events has called out rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams with a million-dollar offer for a potential boxing showdown with up-and-coming heavyweight Joseph Parker within the next four months.Promoters Dean Lonergan and David Higgins today issued a challenge to Williams and manager Khoder Nasser to meet the winner of this week's fight between Parker and "King" Afa Tatupu in Auckland. The winner-take-all prize of $A1 million (NZ$1.13 million) would see a bout scheduled in December, January or February, with Williams' New Zealand Professional Boxing Association heavyweight title and Tatupu's New Zealand National Boxing Federation belt also at stake.
Lonergan delivered the personal challenge to Nasser today, as his charge prepared to take the field for the Sydney Roosters in tonight's NRL Grand Final. In an inflammatory media release, Duco claim they're tired of "Money Bill" ducking opponents and "masquerading as a boxer".
"It wasn't that long ago that all of the talk coming out of Sonny's camp was that he has designs on being heavyweight champion of the world," says Lonergan."It's time to keep it real. And it's time for some credibility to be brought into the conversation about unifying the two New Zealand belts.
"Joseph Parker and Afa Tatupu want to be the undisputed New Zealand champion. That can't happen unless SBW mans up, stops hiding and accepts the challenge." Both Williams and Parker have enjoyed victories over South African journeyman Francois Botha, but in contrasting styles. While SBW prevailed by a points decision in a controversially shortened encounter, Parker decked his opponent for good in the second.
But Williams faces some key decisions over the next couple of days, with a choice between league or rugby hanging in the balance, and another boxing date also expected soon. Duco claim the purse is the biggest ever offered for a heavyweight title fight in New Zealand or Australia, beating their 2009 "Fight of the Century" between David Tua and Shane Cameron. "It's a lot of money and obviously we are hoping it is enough to convince Williams to glove up against either Joseph or Afa," says Lonergan.
"I'm not sure he will have the courage to do it. Sonny is a terrific rugby player and league player, but he's no boxer."Joseph would destroy him - so would Afa - and Sonny knows that."The challenge seems as much about manager vs manager as boxer vs boxer, with Lonergan offering to split the purse if it meant Williams would take on the fight.
"If Khoder Nasser wanted a guaranteed $600,000 for Sonny, then we would consider that. "But the only message that request would send is that he's not too confident that Sonny would win the fight."
Sonny Bill Williams is being offered more than $1m to put his New Zealand heavyweight boxing belt on the line.As the multi-talented athlete gets set to end his latest NRL stint by starring in the Sydney Roosters' Grand Final clash with the Manly Sea Eagles tonight, his sporting future has taken a new twist, with the emergence of a tempting offer to get serious inside the boxing ring.
New Zealand promoter Duco Events has formally approached Williams manager, Khoder Nasser, with the mega-offer to fight the winner of Thursday night's clash between Joseph Parker and Afa Tatupu.Parker, the rising star of the heavyweight scene, is expected to take Tatupu's New Zealand Boxing Federation belt, and then wants a unification fight with Williams, who won the NZ Professional Boxing Association belt last year, but hasn't defended it.Duco is prepared to make the fight a winner take all affair - putting up A$1m.It is also prepared to split the purse if Williams doesn't back himself to beat Parker, but still wants a huge pay-day. Duco has been trying to flush out Williams ever since it signed Parker to its stable.
"Sonny Bill Williams can make more money in one fight than he can for maybe a whole year in either rugby code. All he has to do is stand up to Joseph Parker, or indeed Afa Tatupu, and win," Duco's Dean Lonergan said."If Khoder Nasser and Sonny Bill Williams haven't got the balls or confidence to stand up to a winner takes all purse, we'd be happy to sit down and negotiate a split, and which way it should go.
"But I'd say they will run like little girls, because they know they're going to get belted."Nasser didn't appear to have much interest in the deal when approached yesterday, slamming Duco and accusing it of trying to exploit Williams."They are just doing what amateurs do. They want to make money for themselves and use a sportsman to do that," Nasser said of Duco.
"What they do is abuse sportsmen. They oppress sportsmen - and make money under the guise that they are doing well for sportsmen, especially sportsmen in the toughest sport in the world, boxing."All you've got is a bunch of exploiters. Why don't they say, for example, is how much money the sportsmen made in their last fight, and how much they made. Let them tell me the last time a sportsman made more than they did.
"The sad thing about boxing is the lions are getting skinned by the rats. Duco is about the exploitation of sportsmen in the gladiator sports. They are a classic example of the rats exploiting the lions.
Kevin Barry believes Sonny Bill Williams will never get into the ring with Joseph Parker though the young heavyweight's promoters are going to pursue the league star relentlessly "to bust his myth as a boxer".Parker's bright career took another big step forward last night with a two-round demolition of Afa Tatupu to win one of the two New Zealand heavyweight belts.Williams holds the other and Parker wants it.Barry, the experienced US-based trainer, said that if Williams saw the aggression and punching power Parker displayed last night, it wouldn't have encouraged him to take up a A$1 million (NZ$1.14m) offer to get in the ring."I think Sonny Bill will be very happy that he has made himself available for the Kiwis," Barry said of the Roosters player's late decision to play the rugby league World Cup."He is never going to get in the ring with Joseph."Parker was a bit more diplomatic after his win."Sonny is quite busy with everything he is doing," he said.
"Maybe he doesn't want to box, I'm not quite sure. But has the other belt that I want. Let's unify it."That's still the dream of promoters Duco Events who have put out the massive carrot for Williams although even they admitted Parker's demolition job on Tatupu won't have helped their cause."It's unlikely, I would have thought, that we are going to get Sonny Bill in the ring," promoter Dean Lonergan said."But we are going to pursue him relentlessly. We are either going to shame him into it or incentivise it with money because it is an easy fight for us."Joseph Parker will knock him out it in one or two rounds and then it's done . . . the myth of Sonny Bill as a boxer is gone."We are going to get Joseph harder and harder fights.
I promise you fighting Sonny Bill is a big step backwards in terms of technical ability and fighting ability."But it does two things - it will bring enormous publicity to the table to Joe and that's not a bad thing and it will be a decent payday for Joe and that's not a bad thing either so if we can put the fight together, we'd do it tomorrow."Parker showed another side to his game last night.Technically good and with lovely movement and quick hands, he pummelled Tatupu with raw power in a brutal battle.As expected Tatupu came out swinging and managed to suck the young Parker into a brawl.That angered Barry, especially when Parker copped a head butt that split him open above the left eye.The referee told Parker's corner he was going to stop the fight after the second round because the wound was so large and raw.That saw Barry put pressure on Parker to go back to the original game plan, and he carried that out to perfection, finishing off Tatupu from distance with a wicked flurry of blows."I didn't follow the plan, my emotions took over and I went into a brawl with a brawler," Parker admitted later.
"He came with bombs and haymakers."We had practiced in the camp to handle what he brought. But I didn't put that into practice."Kevin said 'what are you doing?'. We made a plan and in the second round I was able to get my distance back and got my punches flowing from the distance."I'm still learning, I'm still getting experience in the ring. I'm grateful we got the belt and the win. It was a dream for me to get this belt before any others. I am holding it with pride."Barry said he was "bloody angry" with Parker and the biggest disappointment was the cut - something the trainer had predicted could happen if he got in too close to Tatupu.But Barry was impressed with the way Parker was able to gather himself between rounds, adjust his fight to the game plan and carry out the assignment under the pressure applied by the referee,"I guess Joseph wanted to prove that he could mix it up with a real puncher and show that 'I'm not some soft guy that can just box'," Barry said."He showed that."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Joseph Parker credits Kevin Barry's Las Vegas training camps with trans forming his "fighting game".But while Barry has every confidence in his man, he remains wary of the power possessed by current national heavyweight champion Afa Tatupu.Parker will fight "King Afa" for his NZNBF crown in Auckland on Thursday and the young challenger said he feels he is in a good space for his first shot at a national title."I am focused and ready on what I have to do," said the undefeated 21-year-old. "I am feeling good; my mind is in the right place and I am feeling physically good as well."
Parker has been in camp for four weeks preceded by another seven week stint, which was broken up by a two-week New Zealand tour to promote the upcoming bout. Since returning to New Zealand Barry said he is he was confident Parker could get the job done following a "tremendous" training camp."Joseph is a much better fighter than the young man who entered the ring against Francois Botha in June," said Barry.
"I think we are going to see a really nice performance on October 10."But Barry said his charge would need to be watchful in the ring against the "Throwin-Samoan" who had knocked out seven of the nine boxers he has defeated."There is a good test in this for us you know, King Afa is a legitimate heavyweight puncher, he is a bigger puncher than Botha."
In a reversal of the fighting style used when Barry took David Tua to a heavyweight world title fight against Lenox Lewis, Parker was hoping to keep the heavy hitter on the outer."I have reiterated to Joseph on many occasions, we need to stay focused, we need to make sure his game plan is in place to keep the shorter fighter from putting himself in the position to land those punches."Parker said being welcomed home by his parents and his team of "boys" at the airport provided a boost in morale. Yet it is his time in Las Vegas that provided a new fitness base and a wealth of knowledge."Being in Vegas has changed my boxing completely," said Parker.
"Having someone like Kevin in my corner learning different techniques from an experienced coach who has already been there with other fighters.
"I am grateful to be able to be in a camp with Kevin and to have the opportunity to go to Vegas because I know if I didn't go to Vegas, I would still be the same fighter that I was a few months ago."I would still be doing those amateur things, making mistakes."
Despite his one-time flaws, a successful amateur career included gold medals at the 2011 Arafura Games and China Open and silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Championships.Since turning professional and signing on with promoters Duco Events, Parker has crafted a 6-0 record. This includes the destructive knockout against the former world heavyweight title challenger Botha in June, following his first camp with Barry."I believe that the Vegas trip and camp does work," said Parker. "You can just get away and focus on the job away from the distractions, away from the comforts of home."
While the distance and relative isolation helps the wonder kid from Mangere stay focused, Parker said messages of support through social media buoyed his efforts.
"It shows how much support I have and it motivates to train as hard as I can to be better in what I do."I am really grateful to come back and fight in New Zealand where I have the support."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Boxing: Long provides drama at Parker weigh-in
The respect between Joseph Parker and Afa Tatupu ahead of their title fight tomorrow was plain to see at today's weigh-in, but that didn't extend to the protagonists of one of the undercard bouts. Julius Long, the 2.16m American who is in Auckland sparring with David Tua, began a shoving match with his opponent Jason Williams, a former NRL player, which brought a jarring note to what had been a light-hearted affair hosted by veteran boxing commentator Colonel Bob Sheridan.
Long, nicknamed the "Towering Inferno'', posed for pictures with Williams before shoving him across the stage, shouting: "That's what it is.''A visibly upset Williams went to confront Long before the pair were restrained by several others on the stage, including Parker's trainer Kevin Barry.
Afterwards Long said it was a tactic designed to unsettle his opponent. "I just wanted to let him know what he was getting himself into - be ready, bring your A game because I'm ready to take your head off. This is real,'' he said. "I've got the edge because I know he wants me. Anger is a person's weakness.'' Williams said afterwards: "I think a few Americans are like that - showboating and stuff. "We're going to fight in the end anyway so there's no use doing something like that.'' Williams said he had lived in Australia for 10 years while he played for the Bulldogs and Sharks but was now living back in Auckland and was boxing as a "hobby''.
A fit looking Parker, who is challenging Tatupu for his New Zealand National Boxing Federation heavyweight title at Auckland's Trusts Stadium, tipped the scales at 104kg, with Tatupu weighing 99.75kg. Long is preparing Tua for his postponed fight against Alexander Ustinov, who stands 2.02m. - APNZ
Dean Lonergan is calling out Sonny Bill Williams, Kevin Barry is calling out Lonergan and Joseph Parker is too nice a guy to call anyone out.
This is heavyweight boxing, New Zealand style, with $1.3 million in spice added to Thursday night's Duco Events-promoted heavyweight title fight between the stable's rising Kiwi star Joseph Parker and 33-year-old champion Afa Tatupu. Parker is challenging Tatupu for his New Zealand National Boxing Federation heavyweight title at the Trusts Arena in West Auckland, and expected to win comfortably in the scheduled 10-rounder.
But Duco's Lonergan has added some incentive for both by challenging Sonny Bill Williams to put his New Zealand Professional Boxing Association heavyweight title up for grabs against the winner - read Parker - in a $A1 million (NZ$1.35m) winner-takes-all affair to unify the division.Lonergan's thinking is that Williams has to defend the title within six months of a challenge being issued, or have it stripped. The reality is Williams could have closer to two years before he has to fight Parker, providing he takes on a top-10 contender in the next six months.
Lonergan clearly hopes to goad Williams into the matchup. "He needs to accept this fight for his own credibility," said the bullish promoter. "You can run around fighting guys with bigger breasts than Dolly Parton for only so long."Williams' manager Khoder Nasser has already responded coolly to the callout, suggesting he would not be taking up the offer from an organisation he considers "amateur".
But Lonergan's buoyancy had not cooled by yesterday's promotion involving the full card for Thursday night."We want this fight to happen, and we'll bend over backwards to make it happen," Lonergan said. "Khoder says we're amateurs but we're happy to bring in intermediaries who could maybe negotiate the deal."A Parker-Williams fight would bring some much-needed credibility to the sport, but it also has the potential to derail the SBW boxing show big time, so do not pin much hope of it happening any time soon.
Parker's trainer Kevin Barry yesterday reiterated his annoyance at Lonergan waving this in front of his young stud so close to a potentially tricky bout against Tatupu.
Barry's theory is that Duco has provided a massive incentive for Tatupu to score an upset victory over Parker, with a potential $1m payday the result.
"Tatupu is by far the best puncher we've fought against, and I didn't need Dean offering him and his family a life-changing opportunity," said Barry. "It's going to make him try a lot harder. We planned on giving him a reason to quit early, but we may need to be little more clinical now."
The person least fazed by it all appears to be Parker, who cut a relaxed figure at Duco's downtown Auckland offices yesterday. "It is sort of a distraction," Parker said. "If the winner out of us two fights Sonny Bill, it's motivating for both of us. I guess it's dangerous that it's my promoters doing the motivating."
But Parker said his focus was purely on Tatupu, whom he respected. "He's a big puncher and he's durable. No-one has seen me go past three or four rounds, so everyone has that question mark."He's a dangerous fighter, but I know I've prepared the best I can and know I can go into those later rounds if I have to."As for Williams lurking in his future, let's just say Parker wasn't joining the taunting."Sonny is a great guy, a humble dude, and he's a talented athlete. I'd love to fight Sonny. It's a good fight we can both make some good money out of, and also unify the titles."
- © Fairfax NZ News