NZ heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker rises to top contender with WBO

CLAY WILSON


Kiwi heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker is a top-ranked world title contender for the first time. The 24-year-old South Aucklander's trainer Kevin Barry tweeted on Friday afternoon that his young charge was now rated No 1 with the WBO. "As of today Joseph Parker is now ranked #1 with the WBO #TEAMPARKER," Barry said to his 5,700 followers. Parker, who went to 18-0 as a professional with a eighth-round technical knockout of American southpaw Jason Bergman in Samoa earlier this month, has leapfrogged English prospect Anthony Joshua and former longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine into top spot. The rising Kiwi's climb may be the first solid step towards a fight many boxing fans have been eager to see for some time now. It is understood Parker does not automatically become the mandatory challenger to British belt holder Tyson Fury and would have to fight No 2 contender Joshua to determine who claims the right for a shot at the title.

"Anthony Joshua, I am now ranked number one in the WBO you are ranked number two," Parker said in a video released by promoters Duco Events. "Come to New Zealand to fight me for the number one (mandatory) position. "Anthony I am not scared of you. You said when we get together someone is going to get knocked out. Guess what, It is not going to be me"

The heavyweight gold medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, 26-year-old Joshua's record stands at 15-0. Duco director Dean Lonergan recently said Joshua was running scared of a fight with Parker and Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn replied that the Kiwi would have to get in line. But a video emerged earlier this week of Joshua saying if Parker wanted to fight him, "he can come fight me". "I've known about Parker since probably about 2009, when I was coming up in the amateurs," Joshua told iFL TV. "Styles make fights, doesn't it? He's knocking out guys over in New Zealand, I'm knocking out guys in the UK - we come together and someone's going to get knocked out. That's just heavy-handed, fast, young prospects coming through the division." Parker's next fight will be in Christchurch in late April, but an opponent is yet to be confirmed. Controverisal Englishman Fury also holds the WBA belt after defeating Klitschko in November last year. The pair have signed for a rematch, but a date for the bout has not been finalised. The two other champions in the division alongside Fury are Americans Deontay Wilder (WBC) and Charles Martin (IBF).

Parker is also ranked seventh with the WBC and IBF and 11th with the WBA.

 - Stuff


Anthony Joshua's boss says it's too early to fight Joseph Parker

British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says he rates New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker but says he will have to join the queue to fight rising English star Anthony Joshua. Parker's promoters Duco Events are eager to see their man fight Joshua, the 2012 Olympic champion who has made similarly rapid progress to the Kiwi in the professional ranks. They seem to be on a collision course but the fight won't happen as quickly as Parker's handlers hope. Duco boss Dean Lonergan voiced his frustration at being unable to get to meet Hearn on a recent trip to Britain where he wanted to discuss a possible fight. Hearn said the timing didn't suit a face-to-face with Lonergan. He made it clear he was aware of Parker and respected the 24-yea-old's talent. But Parker was merely one of several top fighters looking to take on Joshua.

"In the last three days, I've counted probably six or seven fighters who've mentioned AJ or called him out," Hearn told Britain's Sky Sports. "David Haye, Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora, Malik Scott, Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker. The list goes on and on. "The Parker fight is a fight that can happen as long as he keeps winning. With respect, the level of opponents he has fought hasn't been up to the standard of Joshua's but I rate Parker. I think it's a good fight." Duco have been on a mission to raise Parker's profile in Britain, especially given that Tyson Fury holds the majority of the heavyweight belts. It seems to be taking a while to sink in, despite Parker taking his unbeaten record to 18-0 with 16KOs following his eight-round win over American Jason Bergman in Samoa last Saturday. "I don't think anybody knows who Parker is over here outside of the hardcore boxing fraternity but in time, they will. I don't think Parker really wants AJ now because I think it's too early for him," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"Everybody is targeting Joshua because he's the money man of the division. It's great news. They'll all get their chance. They'll all get their shot. It's just that we can't fight nine people on the same night."

 - Stuff



British heavyweight Anthony Joshua has no fears of Kiwi star Joseph Parker

Highly rated British heavyweight Anthony Joshua has thrown down the gauntlet to Joseph Parker, declaring: "If he wants it, he can come fight me." Parker's promoters Duco Events are eager to set up a showdown with the 2012 Olympic champion, with Duco director Dean Lonergan recently accusing Joshua of running scared of the Kiwi contender. Joshua's camp responded last week by telling the 24-year-old to join the queue of those hoping to take a shot at the English star. Joshua, though, says he has been monitoring Parker's career for some time and is looking forward to when they eventually step in the ring. "Styles make fights, doesn't it. He's knocking out guys over in New Zealand, I'm knocking out guys in the UK - we come together and someone's going to get knocked out. That's just heavy-handed, fast, young prospects coming through the division."

Many believe Parker and Joshua are on a collision course to the heavyweight title having forged similarly impressive starts to their professional careers. Parker is coming off an eighth-round TKO against American southpaw Jason Bergman in Samoa last month to extend his record to 18-0. Joshua, meanwhile, was last in the ring in December, improving to 15-0 courtesy of a seventh-round stoppage of fellow Brit Dillian Whyte. There has been plenty of movement in the heavyweight ranks of late with Tyson Fury dethroning long-time champion Wladimir Klitschko and Charles Martin claiming the vacant IBF belt. But Joshua has no doubt that he and Parker will determine the future of the division.

"It's all a bit up and down and I think sooner or later it will balance out," he added. "That's why me and Parker and so on will be good fights at some stage sooner than later so we can find out who is going to come and dominate the heavyweight division."

 - Stuff


Boxing: Joseph Parker 'not ready' to fight Brit Anthony Joshua

Eddie Hearn, the promoter of English heavyweight and contender Anthony Joshua, has bitten back at the recent comments made by Joseph Parker's promoter Dean
Lonergan, saying the New Zealander was a good prospect but isn't ready to fight the Olympic gold medallist. In Apia before Parker's dominant performance in his eighth-round TKO victory over American Jason Bergman, Lonergan called Hearn a "myth" and said the only thing that would kill a three-fight series between the two fighters would be an early knockout by Parker in the first bout. It was fighting talk from Lonergan, fuelled both by a frustration at having been unable to meet Hearn in England recently to discuss a match-up and also by his desire to create waves in an increasingly exciting and lucrative British heavyweight market.
In response, Hearn had good things to say about Parker.

"In the last three days, I've counted probably six or seven fighters who've mentioned AJ or called him out," Hearn told Britain's Sky Sports. David Haye, Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora, Malik Scott, Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker. The list goes on and on. "The Parker fight is a fight that can happen as long as he keeps winning. With respect, the level of opponents he has fought hasn't been up to the standard of Joshua's but I rate Parker. I think it's a good fight. "I don't think anybody knows who Parker is over here outside of the hardcore boxing fraternity but in time, they will. I don't think Parker really wants AJ now because I think it's too early for him.
"Everybody is targeting Joshua because he's the money man of the division. It's great news. They'll all get their chance. They'll all get their shot. It's just that we can't fight nine people on the same night." Parker, 24, is on a similar trajectory to the 26-year-old Joshua, who won a gold medal in the super heavyweight division at the 2012 Olympics in London. Both are undefeated, with Parker boasting an 18-0 professional record and Joshua 15-0. Joshua's TKO victory over Whyte in London in December was a significant one because the undefeated Whyte was a big step up and hurt Joshua early in the fight, raising questions about his chin.

Bergman, a southpaw who provided a sterner than expected test against Parker in Apia, caught the south Aucklander flush with a left-hand lead in the first round but it appeared to have little effect. Parker is ranked by four organisations - as high as third by the WBO - with Joshua ranked as high as second by the WBC and WBO.
Fury is the WBO and WBA champion, with David Haye returning from a shoulder recently to convincingly stop Croatia-based Australian Mark de Mori, the British heavyweight scene as dominant, if not more so, than the American market. Parker's performance in Apia, while a little untidy at times against an awkward opponent, earned praise from respected boxing writer Dan Rafael, who wrote on his ESPN blog: "It was a dominant performance from Parker, who looms as a possible future force in the wide-open heavyweight division." Parker's next fight is in Christchurch on April 17.

- NZ Herald


Joseph Parker is the new heavyweight hope for Kevin Barry

By Richard Damerell


Lennox Lewis ruined Kevin Barry's world title dreams 16 years ago, but the Kiwi is guiding another contender towards a shot at boxing's biggest prize. Joseph Parker is the latest heavyweight hope from New Zealand and has blasted his way up the rankings with 17 straight wins. The big-hitting 24-year-old's progress is being overseen by Barry, an experienced manager and trainer who has been here before. Sixteen years ago, Barry managed another heavy-handed New Zealander, David Tua, who produced a string of chilling stoppage wins to earn a Las Vegas clash with Lewis, the WBC and IBF champion, in November 2000. But the 'Tuaman' failed to justify his fearsome reputation and Barry watched helplessly as the hesitant challenger threw just a handful of his big hooks in a dominant points win for Lewis.

"We all worked so hard. It was my first big chance at a major event," said Barry. "When we were on the biggest stage, I think he was a little overawed and couldn't pull the trigger when it mattered the most. When he realised that he was behind - he couldn't win - he was content to survive the 12 rounds instead of finding a way to win the fight. "I know David himself would have loved a do-over, because he knows he was capable of doing a lot more than he actually did on that night." Comparisons can be drawn between Tua and Parker, who are both of Samoan heritage, and the current contender has blazed a similar destructive trail through his early opponents.

But Barry insists Parker displays an earnest dedication to the sport, which sets him apart from his previous protege. "David Tua had God-given power," said Barry. "I think there is far more to Joseph Parker's overall game than what there was to David Tua. The once dormant heavyweight division has changed rapidly in recent months, with Tyson Fury taking the No 1 spot after a points win over the long-reigning Wladimir Klitschko in November. The returning David Haye and the highly-rated Anthony Joshua are two other threatening foes from these shores and Barry believes that Parker will turn his attention to Britain in the coming months. "Probably the most exciting area in the world at the moment is the UK," he said. "You've only got to look at what fighters you have. "With David Haye coming back, I hope he looks as good as ever, because with him and Anthony Joshua, and obviously Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora, there is a ton of talent there. We want to get among some of that. 

"Our plan for 2016 was to campaign Joseph Parker in America. Well, I think our focus has changed and we would love to be fighting in the UK at some stage this year. 
"We would love nothing more than to be putting our talent on display in the UK." Parker recently admitted that his path is likely to cross with Joshua and Barry, despite his genuine respect for the amateur star, feels his fighter has certain superior qualities. "Anthony has terrific pedigree, you cannot fault an Olympic gold medallist," said Barry. "All his victories have been by knockout. "There are a lot of similarities in the way that Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker have been brought along. 

"Obviously Anthony is a little bit bigger, he's a little bit heavier, he's got a longer reach. "Anthony has terrific pedigree, you cannot fault an Olympic gold medallist," said Barry. "All his victories have been by knockout. "There are a lot of similarities in the way that Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker have been brought along.  "Obviously Anthony is a little bit bigger, he's a little bit heavier, he's got a longer reach. "I think Joseph Parker has got a better selection of punches, I think he's got faster hand-speed. There will be several questions about who hits the hardest and I don't think we will find that out until the two of them fight each other." A busy education in the professional ranks will see Parker return to action against Jason Bergman on January 23. Barry will again offer his advice from the corner and is certain that Parker is treading a path towards world title glory.

"As we've gone from fight to fight, I know he's special, I know he's gifted," he said. "The only one who can stop Joseph Parker from becoming the world champion, is himself."


Anthony Joshua receives latest challenge from Joseph Parker

By Isaac Robinson


Unbeaten heavyweight Joseph Parker wants Anthony Joshua - but Eddie Hearn has warned the New Zealander there's a whole host of other fighters calling out the Olympic champion. Parker moved to 18-0-KO16 with an eighth-round stoppage of Jason Bergman on January 23 - and his promoter Dean Lonergan subsequently suggested counterpart Hearn is shunning their attempts to arrange a clash with Joshua (15-0-KO15). In an interview reported on fightnews.com, Lonergan said: "We desperately want to fight Joshua, we've put challenges to him. "I was in England two months ago, I was trying to get a meeting through my boxing connections who know the Hearn camp intimately. Eddie Hearn turned me down flat." But Hearn was quick to play down the situation and highlight the demand for divisional "money man" Joshua, telling Sky Sports: "I might have got an email saying he was in town and I don't think I was in town.

"In the last three days, I've counted probably six or seven fighters who've mentioned AJ or called him out. David Haye, Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora, Malik Scott, Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker. The list goes on and on. "The Parker fight is a fight that can happen as long as he keeps winning. With respect, the level of opponents he has fought hasn't been up to the standard of Joshua's but I rate Parker. I think it's a good fight. But Hearn was quick to play down the situation and highlight the demand for divisional "money man" Joshua, telling Sky Sports: "I might have got an email saying he was in town and I don't think I was in town. "In the last three days, I've counted probably six or seven fighters who've mentioned AJ or called him out. David Haye, Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora, Malik Scott, Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker. The list goes on and on.

"The Parker fight is a fight that can happen as long as he keeps winning. With respect, the level of opponents he has fought hasn't been up to the standard of Joshua's but I rate Parker. I think it's a good fight.



Joseph Parker will end the myth that is Anthony Joshua, says Dean Lonergan

MARVIN FRANCE


Duco Events promoter Dean Lonergan says English star Anthony Joshua is running scared of Joseph Parker as he looks to manoeuvre the New Zealand prospect into a position to challenge for the world heavyweight title. Parker fought American southpaw Jason Bergman in Samoa late Saturday night where he was expected to cruise to his 18th straight victory. Speaking ahead of the bout, Lonergan said the 24-year-old from South Auckland could be in a mandatory challenger position with one of the major boxing organisations within the next six months and has Joshua squarely in his sights. Joshua and Parker, ranked second and third in the WBO respectively, are regarded as two of the most exciting fighters in the division and are seemingly on a collision course for the world title.

The No 1 challenger position is up for grabs after Charles Martin vacated the spot by beating Vyacheslav Glazkov to claim the IBF crown in New York last week. Lonergan believes the 26-year-old was exposed by Whyte and has no doubt that Parker would have finished the job. "We will move heaven and earth to fight Joshua because he's not that good." The Parker camp have made no secret of their desire to test the British market in recents weeks. And Lonergan revealed former WBA champion David Haye, who celebrated his return from retirement last week with a first round knockout of Australian Mark de Mori, and Dereck Chisora were also on their hit list. "We will take on anyone of those English guys whenever we can," he added. "We think Haye is just a little man who will get belted by Joe. Chisora is old, past it and slow. Anthony Joshua is a myth."

Along with the WBO, Parker is also ranked in the top 10 of the WBC and IBF, with Duco keeping a close eye on the latter in particular after Martin's victory. Germany's Erkan Teper is next in line for a title shot, although his future is in limbo after failing a drugs test, opening the door for Joshua and Carlos Takam to move up. Parker is behind those two in the IBF pecking order but Lonergan could easily see a situation where Joshua avoids the experienced Frenchman for safer and more lucrative opponents. That could potentially put the Kiwi in a position to fight to be the number one contender, Lonergan said. "In the next one to six months we could be in the mandatory spot. The mandatory spot is everything, no-one is going to fight Joseph Parker voluntarily. One, we come from a small market that doesn't bring much money to the table and two, we're dangerous." Lonergan is keen to see Parker test himself in America and has been in discussions with US television networks HBO and Showtime. In the short-term at least, he says it makes much more sense financially to continue to fight in New Zealand, but that doesn't mean Parker won't be facing a step up in quality. Parker's team faced criticism for a lack of credible opponents after five straightforward victories in 2015. He is next scheduled to fight in Christchurch in April followed by a bout in July, with Lonergan on the verge of finalising the first opponent. 

"We've searched the world for what will probably be Joseph's highest-rated opponent independently ranked. So it will be a good fight. "We have to step it up. And if we're going to get Joseph in world title contention shape he's got to fight tougher guys. So the opponent in April will be very tough and we really have to see how he goes as to what we do (in July)." * The writer travelled to Samoa courtesy of Duco Events, the fight promoter and Joseph Parker's management company.

 - Sunday Star Times