Joseph Parker set for July fight in Invercargill


New Zealand's most exciting boxing talent Joseph Parker will fight in Invercargill in July. Parker's promoters Duco Events and ILT Stadium Southland officials have been negotiating for nearly 18 months to bring a Parker fight to Invercargill. A three-year agreement was signed this week between stadium officials and Auckland-based Duco Events which will see events brought to the city in each of the next three years. ILT Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt said there was still work to be done on what input would be provided by different community funders but he was confident enough to go ahead and sign the contract with Duco this week to get the promotion of the Parker fight under way. The proposed date for the fight is July 11. "The only risk we could take is not taking a risk," Skelt said about signing the three-year deal with Duco. "In our opinion they are an outstanding promoter of events, they have a world-class reputation so we couldn't find a better organisation to work with. Everything they have done they have been exceptionally professional." There were out clauses for both parties if the partnership did not work but Skelt was confident it would provide plenty of benefits for Invercargill. "We've got to be leading the way. It is difficult getting people to come down here as it is, so we've got to take every opportunity we can and this is one of them." Skelt hoped tickets would be on sale in February but prices had yet to be finalised. Duco Events representative Dean Lonergan said Sir Bob Jones originally suggested they should take events to Invercargill because the community supported them. Then when Parker's trainer Kevin Barry visited the nearly complete ILT Stadium Southland last year he urged Duco Events to look at staging a fight there. "Kevin said it was going to be a stunning stadium, so I got down there and I realised it was a world-class facility. It blows me away that Invercargill has managed to build a stadium of that quality down there. I've got no doubts this is going to be a major success." Lonergan conceded there might be some eyebrows raised from people about taking such a big fight to provincial New Zealand but he was confident it was the right move. 

The event will be the first high-profile professional boxing night held in Invercargill and will feature a boxer who is being tipped to continue his rise up the world heavyweight ranks. The 22-year-old has a 12-fight-12-win professional record and is ranked No 10 by the World Boxing Association. With a lot of hype around Parker's prospects, the fight is likely to draw plenty of interest nationally, and some internationally as well. As part of the agreement Parker will spend the whole week in Invercargill in the leadup to the fight, which will help put the spotlight on the city. Television broadcast time will also be spent promoting Southland.

- The Southland Times

NZ boxing 2014: David Nyika, Joseph Parker names ring a bell video


(Please click link above to watch video)

Amateur boxing in New Zealand is a basket case, but at the professional level a gentleman star shone bright this year. The governing body is in disarray as infighting at board level continues to threaten the sport. The stalemate between members of the amateur boxing community over various governance issues has left Sport New Zealand having to sift through a train wreck looking for a solution. Despite this, the sport has managed to unearth a star predicted to go on to special things. Waikato boxer David Nyika had to take the tough road to get to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after originally missing the qualification requirements. He sourced tournaments in Europe to attend and eventually had done enough to get the thumbs up for a place in the New Zealand team. He didn't disappoint in Glasgow. Nyika won gold in the light heavyweight division to become the first New Zealand boxer to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal since Michael Kenny in 1990. The 19-year-old has since indicated he wants to beef up and step up to the heavyweight division as he eyes the Olympics in Brazil in 2016. On his 2014 evidence, David Nyika is a name that is likely to feature a lot in the coming years, both in the amateur and pro ranks. He was lucky enough this year to meet New Zealand's rising professional star Joseph Parker.

Parker is a talented prospect in world heavyweight boxing and this year highlighted his sharp abilities, winning all five of his fights. The 22-year-old began the year with a fight in April against Brazilian Marcelo Luiz Nascimento. The fight, in Germany, was won by technicial knockout in the seventh round. Parker returned to New Zealand victorious, where he fought his second fight of the year, taking on American Brian Minto in July. He won the fight in the seventh round on a referee's technical decision. Then it was off to America for New Zealand's gentleman boxer, where he would fight against Keith Thompson. But before the fight he saw the sights, including a visit to Joe Frazier's grave, going on a Rocky-imitation run in Philadelphia, and a meeting with former WBC heavywieght champion Larry Holmes.

Inspired by his American experience Parker swept to victory over Thompson, winning by technical knockout in just three rounds. Parker returned to New Zealand confident and ready to take on Bahamas boxer Sherman 'the Tank' Williams. Their fight at The Trusts Arena in Auckland went the distance, but was won by Parker on a unanimous points decision.

The victory set up Parker's last fight of the year, against Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior, who he beat by knockout in the fourth round of a Fight for Life fixture in Hamilton a fortnight ago. There is a plenty to like about Parker, who steps into top 10 territory in 2015. He has a busy year ahead with trainer Kevin Barry confirming the heavyweight has five fights scheduled for 2015. "We want to keep this momentum going and keep a busy schedule," Barry said. The business can wait till 2015 though, with Parker enjoying a holiday in Samoa to end 2014. Someone going on a long holiday from boxing is Shane Cameron, who this year retired from the sport after losing to Kali Meehan. The loss brought to a close his 12-year professional career.

Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker to spar with superstar Wladimir Klitschko


Rising New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has accepted an invitation to spar with world champion Wladimir Klitschko. Parker will help the giant Ukrainian prepare for his next title bout at a camp in Austria in April. Parker has turned down two previous invitations to work with Klitschko because the timings didn't suit his own schedule. Parker featured on Klitschko's undercard in his successful title defence against Australian Alex Leapai in Germany last April where relationships between the two fighter's promoters expanded. Parker's handlers, Duco Events, now believe his 2015 schedule will allow the invaluable experience to happen. Parker's trainer Kevin Barry sees many positives in getting his fighter in the training ring with the champ. "The biggest thing is it will give us a real indication of where Joe is after two years as a pro," Barry said. "And it will give us a realistic appraisal of how much we have to do to compete at the highest level. "Part of my plans for 2015 were to have Joe work with a big, tall guy and you can't get a better giant than Wladimir Klitschko."

The training camp will come after Parker opens his year with a March 5 fight against American Jason Pettaway in South Auckland. The 34-year-old from West Virginia has fashioned a decent record as a counter-puncher since turning professional in 2005 on the back of a 130-fight amateur career. Pettaway has won 17 of his 18 fights, with 10 coming via knockouts. His only loss came at the hands of unbeaten Russian southpaw Magomed Adbusalamov via a fourth round stoppage. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds with Parker's WBO Oriental and WBA PABA heavyweight titles at stake. Barry believes Pettaway is a good opponent to start another busy year with the campaign aimed at manoeuvring Parker into the top five in the rankings and towards a title shot. Parker is ranked No 10 with the WBA and 12 with the WBO. "If you look closely at his previous 17 fights you will see that Pettaway has power in both hands - so it's not the one power shot you have to look out for," Barry said. "It's a different style being put in front of Joe again and that's important. A lot of our training will involve countering a guy with a lot of movement. But we intend to take him places he hasn't been before." Parker and Pettaway will front media in Auckland today but the American has already delivered an early shot, declaring there is nothing about the 22-year-old New Zealander that scares him. "He's being touted along with Anthony Joshua as the upcoming superstar of the division but my trainer and I have studied his style and identified his flaws, which we will exploit. I will show the world chinks in his armour," Pettaway said. The fight is the first of a four-fight deal under a new six-figure sponsorship arrangement with fast foods giant Burger King.

- Stuff

Boxing: Joseph Parker on his way to top five

By Kris Shannon, Patrick McKendry

A top five world ranking is on the cards for rapidly rising New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker after knocking out Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa jnr in Hamilton on Sunday. Undefeated in 12 professional fights with 10 knockouts, Parker was ranked 10th by the WBA before the win and is on track for a further rise up the rankings. Trainer Kevin Barry believes the 22-year-old will break into the top five in the world this time next year after another busy 12 months of five or six fights.

"It was by far Joe's best performance," Barry said. "He has been showing me glimpses of that all year in the gym and in fights I'm seeing a little bit of it. "I think he showed tonight just how world class he really is and if that doesn't put the shudders into a few heavyweights around the world I don't know what will." Sir Bob Jones, however, has preached caution over the hype surrounding his former charge. Sir Bob, who managed the fighter until last year, insisted little significance could be read into Parker's knockout victory. He said neither Parker's record nor the ratings were of particular importance. "Joseph is working his way along nicely, he's very young and there's plenty of time," Sir Bob said. "But this claptrap about world ratings is just childish. "I get pretty angry with this 'No10 in the WBA' nonsense. Joseph at this stage is unrateable because he's too new and so far he's fought a series of nonentities." Sir Bob hopes Barry will help to ensure the right opponents are now chosen for Parker.

- NZ Herald

Joseph Parker aims to cement top 10 status in 2015


Joseph Parker's 2015 calendar has already been planned out and should see him secure his place as one of the world's best heavyweight boxers. The 22-year-old had his best fight as a professional at the Fight for Life in Hamilton on Saturday night, knocking out Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior 31 seconds into the fourth round. Some had questioned whether Parker had the raw power to end a fight with one punch but his effort at Claudelands Arena put those doubts to rest.

"It was by far Joe's best performance," Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, said. "He's been showing me glimpses of that all year in the gym and in fights I'm seeing a little bit of it. "I thought this was the perfect opponent and the perfect time of the year after putting five fights together in seven-and-a-half months, that we would see the best of Joseph, we would see the skills that he possesses, and I thought he was outstanding." One thing we know about Kevin Barry is that he won't rush Parker into a fight he doesn't think he can win. There are several fighters in the top 10 of the world rankings that Barry would like to see Parker fight. The reality is that many of those fighters would want to avoid Parker, as they too target world title fights in the near future. These are boxers looking up in the rankings for fights, rather than down. Ad Feedback Parker will get those fights in time, but a slow move up the rankings is the goal for 2015. Barry said by the end of 2015 he wants Parker to be in the top 10 of each of the four major boxing association rankings and in the top five of at least one. "At the end of last year, we said that at the end of 2014 Joseph would be ranked in the top 10. Well, Joseph is ranked No 10 with the WBA. "I believe that this time next year Joseph will be ranked in the top 10 with the four major organisations and possibly even ranked in the top five with one of them. "That'll be my goals for Joe next year." Barry named three top-10 ranked boxers he is eyeing for Parker and said this fight proved Parker would beat WBO sixth-ranked Christian Hammer "tomorrow". "We're looking closely at Bermane Stiverne, we're also looking at Ruslan Chagaev, the WBA regular champion, so there are other fighters out there I would like Joe to fight." * Tameifuna and Uhila robbed of deserved victories * Millie Elder-Homes wins fight for Connor Meanwhile, former Warriors league star Monty Betham believes his boxing career is finally over, despite showing he's still got it in a third-round knockout of Carlos Spencer. Betham wants to keep his wife happy after stepping back into the ring and doesn't believe she'll allow him another chance. "I managed to get it across the line this time," Betham said. "It cost me a bathroom but never mind. Like I said, happy wife, happy life. Hopefully she'll be a bit more forgiving and let me go again but the phone's got to call. "If the phone doesn't ring, it means you don't get an opportunity but I think me saying yes and the phone ringing are pretty distant now." For Spencer, this was definitely the final time. "I'm happy with myself for jumping in there and giving it a go," he said. "It was always going to be one of those one-off things. That's the last time. I'm done and dusted." 

- Waikato Times

Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker grabs headlines after KO victory


Joseph Parker's international profile and rankings continue to rise as New Zealand's top heavyweight boxer grabbed headlines on the back of his latest win. Parker's fourth-round knockout of Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa jnr in Hamilton on Saturday night didn't go unnoticed outside of New Zealand. BoxRec, the respected independent organisation that crunches the numbers on all the world's heavyweights from the relevant organisations, often gives the most relevant rating.

They update their rankings daily and quickly moved Parker up six places to No 24 on their heavyweight rankings after the weekend win. That's the best position he has held with BoxRec and he's the youngest boxer inside the top 30, rising fast on an unbeaten stretch of 12 fights with 10 wins through stoppages.. And with Costa being the WBO Latino champion and ranked one lower than Parker at No 15 on that organisation's rankings, there will surely be a rise for the Kiwi there. Parker could break into the WBO's top 10 when their rankings are adjusted this month. He's already at No 10 with the WBA and the plan is to push the 22-year-old hard in 2015, getting him inside the top 10 of all four major organisations.  Basing his training in Las Vegas and keeping him active is certainly getting Parker noticed in the right circles. Respected American website East Side Boxing predicted "an exciting 2015 awaits for Parker and his team" after his demolition job of Costa. Correspondent Bryce Wilson wrote that Parker rounded off a busy year and managed to achieve what the higher-ranked Christian Hammer was unable to do by stopping Costa. "In the opening rounds Parker came out landing stiff jabs and vicious left-and-right body shots to the fleshy midriff of Costa Junior," Wilson wrote. "Clearly the plan was to break down the Brazilian to the body. "A game Costa continued to press forward before eating a HUGE right hand in the fourth round knocking him clean out and ending Parker's year with easily his best win." ESPN's knowledgeable boxing critic Dan Rafael has been following Parker's progress closely. "The 22-year-old Parker, who is 6-foot-2, 231 pounds [1.88 metres and 104.8 kilograms], is one of boxing's most heralded heavyweight prospects and already very popular in his home country of New Zealand," Rafael wrote, summarising Parker's 2014. "He has a strong amateur foundation and has moved along nicely as a professional." On the headline screamed "Parker's Crushing Knockout" with the report saying the victory "capped off his stellar year with a classy knockout win". "Parker controlled the bout from the opening bell before handing the towering 34-year-old his first-ever knockout loss in the fourth round," the website wrote. "Parker was never out of his comfort zone and dismantled the veteran with precision before landing one final knockout blow midway through the fourth." labelled Parker's latest effort "spectacular". "Parker was in command from the opening bell and levelled Costa Jr. with a crushing right hand to end it," their report read.

- Stuff

Old heads warn against Joseph Parker hype


Learning to filter the nous from the nonsense might be Joseph Parker's next biggest challenge. Since the heavyweight boxer knocked out Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior in Hamilton last Saturday night the excited chatter from his supporters has reached unprecedented levels. After watching Parker stop his opponent in the fourth round, manager Kevin Barry boldly stated that in 12 months he wants Parker to be in the top 10 of each of the four major boxing association rankings and in the top five of at least one.

It was a comment which former manager Sir Bob Jones labelled "claptrap". And it seems Sir Bob is not alone in questioning whether Barry is getting ahead of himself. New Zealand Boxing Association president Lance Revill joined Sir Bob in urging Barry to apply the handbrake to his fighter's career. "They are blowing Joseph up a little early," Revill warned. "There is great potential there but there is a long way to go. He is only 22. He is going to get there but he is only a baby when it comes to heavyweight boxing. I think they are hurrying him too quick." Following the victory in Hamilton, an excited Barry listed three top-10 boxers he believed Parker was capable of beating. That has Revill worried. As an ex-fighter himself, Revill says he knows boxers rarely disagree with their promoters, even when they know they could be mis-matched.

"They say he [Parker] wants to be a millionaire at 30 but he is probably going to be anyway. What's the rush? There are a thousand guys in the world that he could be fighting . . . He probably hasn't matured yet. Let him put on his natural weight and don't fast-forward things too quickly." Ad Feedback Putting Parker into the ring against someone who could exploit his lack of maturity would do more than dent his confidence. "Once he loses, he is exposed, people know his weaknesses and how to beat him. But we are not the ones who are managing him, or promoting him." Renowned Porirua boxing trainer Chris Kenny, a former national coach and director of coaching, believes Barry is doing a good job but he urged caution. "A kid with a bit of talent, you want to take him along gently. You don't want him to be tested now because if it was a real test, he might not like it. But at the moment he's getting blokes that, 80 per cent of them, he is going to knock over. "Hopefully he won't get knocked over because he's our only hope at the moment." Nelson's Les Rackley, who trained New Zealand teams between 1972-82, said Parker was yet to prove himself. "His opponents are too soft. I'm sure he has got the talent but he needs to be matched with a bit more of a tougher opponent. "I'm not blowing him down, I like the kid and I hope he goes a long way and wins a world title." Rackley has little doubt Parker could financially set himself up for life if his promoters map out a logical career path. "He has got a lovely physique, good fast hands but I can't say whether he can take a punch or not because he has never been hit. He has got everything there but we don't know if he can get through a 10 to 12-round fight. "There are dozens of heavyweights who can really test him, there are a lot in Europe and Britain that could test him."

- The Press

 Parker punch 'a contender for KO of the year'

Joseph Parker's fourth round demolition of Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior has a top boxing critic calling for the decisive combination to gain a knockout of the year nomination. That's the feeling of decorated American boxing writer Dan Rafael as Parker's year-ending effort in Hamilton last weekend continues to gain international recognition. Dan Rafael,'s boxing writer since 2005 after holding the same position for five years at USA Today, has long had the rapidly-rising Parker on his radar.

He listed Parker's belting of Costa in his regular roundup of the past week's "notable boxing results from around the world". Rafael rates Parker as an "intriguing prospect" and believes the Kiwi has the punching power that fans demand of a heavyweight division devoid of starpower. "Parker showed good hand speed and a brutal body attack against Costa, 34, of Brazil, who was stopped for the first time. Parker went upside his head with right hands and was breaking him down before he obliterated him with a knockout of the year candidate," Rafael, who last year won the Boxing Writers Association of America's Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism, wrote. "Parker nailed him with a left hook that basically turned Costa's head into the follow-up right hand that caught him flush on the jaw and splattered him flat on his back. "Costa's eyes were open, but he was totally out of it. Referee Brad Vocale counted to four and then waved it off at 31 seconds. Spectacular. Knockouts like this are why folks love heavyweights." Rafael believes Parker is "coming along nicely as a professional following a quality amateur career". "Parker is an intriguing prospect in a division in dire need of them and the sensational knockout he scored against Costa should get even more people excited about him."  Parker is now taking a welcomed break with a family holiday in Samoa after ending a busy year of five fights in such spectacular style. Already No 10 with the WBA, he will surely see his WBO ranking of 15 lift on the back of his win over Costa. His management plan a similarly busy year in 2015 as they look to manoeuvre the 22-year-old towards a world title fight.

- Stuff

Joseph Parker KO4 Irineu Beato Costa Jr. Heavyweight Records: Parker (12-0,10 KOs); Costa Jr. (15-2, 13 KOs)

Rafael's remarks: Parker, 22, of New Zealand, is an intriguing prospect in a division in dire need of them and the sensational knockout he scored against Costa should get even more people excited about him. Parker is already a popular attraction in his home country and coming along nicely as a professional following a quality amateur career. He's already beaten gatekeeper opponents such as Sherman Williams, Brian Minto and Frans Botha with ease. He finished Junior with ease for his fifth win of the year, and his handlers aim for him to fight five more times in 2015 as he makes his way up the ranks. Besides fighting regularly, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Parker has also gained experience as a sparring partner for world titleholder Bermane Stiverne and has been invited to spar with world champion Wladimir Klitschko for his next camp in the spring. Parker showed good hand speed and a brutal body attack against Costa, 34, of Brazil, who was stopped for the first time. Parker went upside his head with right hands and was breaking him down before he obliterated him with a knockout of the year candidate. Parker nailed him with a left hook that basically turned Costa's head into the follow-up right hand that caught him flush on the jaw and splattered him flat on his back. Costa's eyes were open, but he was totally out of it. Referee Brad Vocale counted to four and then waved it off at 31 seconds. Spectacular. Knockouts like this are why folks love heavyweights.

Parker expected to rise in 2015

By Ross McNaughton

 "A clean shot at the right time" was Joseph Parker's typically understated appraisal of last night's knockout of Irineu Beato Costa Jr. But the four-round demolition has his handlers very excited about a busy 2015, where Parker is expected to continue his rise up the rankings. In the lead-up to the fight, trainer Kevin Barry promised Parker had more to give. They were not empty words. "Tonight I thought he was outstanding," says Barry. "I think he showed tonight just how world-class he is. And if that doesn't put the shudders into a few heavyweights around the world, I don't know what will." Just as classy as the knockout was Parker's concern for his fallen opponent, more worried about checking on Costa Jr than celebrating. "Always feel sorry for them when they're in that state, but it was just a good victory," says Parker. "I was happy he was able to get up at the end and he was all good." There was no mercy during the fight though, as Parker carried out Barry's plan to perfection, punishing the Brazilian with a series of brutal body shots in the first three rounds, before the right hand that emphatically finished Parker's final test of the year. "Kevin said he doesn't want anything but an A-plus, so hopefully that was an A-plus coach?" says Parker. "That was an A-plus," says Barry. Mum Sala seemed just as impressed with Parker's fifth win of the year, and while school's out for summer, 2015 is expected to be just as busy for the 22-year-old, with another five fights lined up. "This time neat year Joseph will be ranked in the top 10 with the four major organisations, and the top 5 with one of them," says Barry. Monty Betham gave Carlos Spencer a torrid introduction to professional boxing, winning by TKO in the third round. Willie Mason was awarded a contentious split-decision victory over Ben Tameifuna – a result that even had Mason shaking his head. The judges couldn't ignore Millie Elder Holmes' domination of Frankie Adams, the soap star battered through all three rounds.

3 News 

Joseph Parker lands a killer knockout blow

Devastating power. Joseph Parker capped his most successful year as a professional with a stunning fourth round knockout of Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior in Hamilton on Saturday night. In 16 previous fights, Costa Junior had never been stopped - and clearly never copped this sort of power. With one brutal right hand that landed flush on the jaw, Parker ended the fight in emphatic fashion, just 31 seconds into round four.

Anyone who has watched Parker evolve would recognise this was his finest performance. The fruits of his Las Vegas training under Kevin Barry are beginning to flourish. Only now is Parker starting to believe he belongs in the division of giants. The stare he gave Costa Junior after he stuck him with big shots was revealing. With each fight - this his fifth victory of the year to improve his record to 12-0 - he grows in stature and confidence. "By far this was Joseph's most impressive performance," Barry said. "Everyone watching tonight both here and at home can see how skilful and just how far he has come. That's why he's now ranked 10 in the world by the WBA." Parker was aggressive from the opening bell to retain his WBO Oriental and WBA PABA titles. Body shots, jabs, hooks, uppercuts - the South Aucklander showcased his full array of skills and crucially didn't drop his hands to leave himself open. Leading off with the left, Parker threw out repeated three-punch combinations. His huge right hand in the fourth round was no fluke - it was well orchestrated and thought out. The slow, lumbering Costa Junior presented an easy target, but not everyone could finish the job like this. "This was the final exam Kevin was talking about and I'm glad I passed it," Parker said. "We've been working on the body throughout the whole year. Kevin said to set it up and it came. I'm grateful for this victory." Plans for Parker to fight five times again next year can now progress as intended. First, though, he will enjoy a well deserved holiday in Samoa with his parents. On this evidence, next year could bring something special.

- Stuff

Result: Joseph Parker versus Costa Junior

December 6th Claudelands Arena, Hamilton, New Zealand – In front of a packed Claudelands Arena Joseph Parker took on Brazilian Beaton Costa Junior to round off a busy year and managed to achieve what the higher ranked Christian Hammer was unable to do by stopping Beato Costa Junior. In the opening rounds Parker came out landing stiff jabs and vicious left and right body shots to the fleshy midriff of Costa Junior. Clearly the plan was to break down the Brazilian to the body. A game Costa Junior continued to press forward before eating a HUGE right hand in the 4th round knocking him clean out and ending Parker’s year with easily his best win. An exciting 2015 awaits for Parker and his team.

Boxing: Parker wins with 4th-round KO

(Please click link above to watch video)

Less than two hours before Joseph Parker knocked out Irineu Beato Costa Junior with a right hand to the chin the Brazilian still hasn't seen coming, the rapidly rising New Zealand heavyweight was discreetly sitting on the floor at the edge of the Claudelands Arena. He was surveying the undercard fights in a T-shirt and shorts, smiling and looking for all the world like he was already on holiday rather than preparing to burst into action with a stunning display which would culminate in a first stoppage for a tough 34-year-old. Shortly before that he shook hands with his many supporters in the corporate section of the Fight for Life event crowd in Hamilton. He is looking increasingly comfortable in this environment -- in and out of the ring -- good news for him and possibly bad news for many others in the heavyweight division. The 22-year-old was always going to be too fit, fast and skilful for Costa Junior, a big and strong but limited fighter. But it was the power he showed not only in knocking out the Brazilian with a left-hook right-hand combination that should worry his future opponents, but the devastating body shots that preceded it. Undefeated in 12 professional fights with 10 knockouts, he is definitely on track, trainer Kevin Barry believing Parker will break into the top five in the world this time next year following 12 months of five or six fights

. "It was by far Joe's best performance," Barry said. "He has been showing me glimpses of that all year. I think he showed tonight just how world class he really is and if that doesn't put the shudders into a few heavyweights around the world I don't know what will." Parker said: "Once I saw his eyes I knew it was a good punch. I looked over at Kevin and he was jumping up and happy." He added: "He [Costa Junior] wasn't expecting it. It's those punches that you don't expect that get you." One of the many reasons for this match's hype was that Costa Junior had been beaten only once in 16 previous pro fights, in Germany in October by Christian Hammer, ranked seventh in the world. Significantly, Hammer failed to do any real damage, winning the fight by decision over 12 rounds. "We'd fight Hammer tomorrow," Barry said. "You've heard me say this before - there are a lot of guys in the top 10 that I would put Joseph up against immediately." Barry said of Costa Junior: "You could see the experience of the man because Joe hit him with some huge shots in the first three rounds - most other fighters would have gone down a lot earlier. The one he caught him with was picture perfect. He was out before he hit the canvas." Parker, preparing to go on holiday in Samoa, was challenged to reach an A-plus rating in his final examination of the year by Barry and can travel feeling comfortable he aced his test. "We knew once Joe established his jab and got the feint game going there would be holes to the body," said Barry. "I've been taking a few of those body shots from Joe all year and I'm just pleased he threw them on someone else." Parker, looking forward to celebrating, said with a grin that most of those wayward shots were accidental. Comfortable indeed.


Video highlights: Parker knocks out Costa Jr - Fight for life 

Joseph Parker has completed a comprehensive victory over Irineu Beato Costa Jr, scoring a fourth round knock out in his main event bout at the Fight for Life at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton. Parker came out of the gates strongly, varying his shots well and seemingly landing at will against the lumbering Brazilian, who struggled to find any offense throughout the fight. The technical class of Parker shone through as he pressured Costa Jr with a high work rate that he was unable to come close to matching, and early in the fourth round landed a pinpoint straight right hand which sent the towering Brazilian to the mat in spectacular fashion. It was the first KO loss of Costa Jr's career and extends Parker's win streak to twelve fights. Check out all the highlights above.

-3 News.

VIDEO:Parker KO win puts heavyweight division on notice video

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Two years into his professional career, Joseph Parker has the heavyweight division on notice. Last night's devastating fourth round knockout of Irineu Beato Costa Junior was an emphatic statement. Best of all – Parker is still some way from the finished product. The slow, lumbering and limited Costa Junior, who had fashioned a tidy record against questionable Brazilian opposition, presented an easy target, but he could take a punch, having never been stopped in 16 previous bouts. He also possessed a dangerous right hand that has yielded 11 knockouts within the first two rounds. In his last outing he went 12 rounds – albeit losing every one – with the WBO's sixth ranked Christian Hammer. In eight less rounds, Parker did what Hammer, the German, couldn't. That alone sends a message. "If that doesn't put the shudders into a few heavyweights around the world, I don't know what will," Parker's jubilant mentor, Kevin Barry, said. "We'd fight Christian Hammer tomorrow." Parker's hand speed and power were genuinely lethal against the Brazilian and as he moves up the ranks such a valuable skill set will be his greatest asset. Costa Junior was out before he hit the canvas. He was never getting up. That much was left to the Claudelands Arena crowd who rose in unison. "Once I saw his eyes and facials… it was a good punch," Parker said.

It wasn't just the end result that was impressive – more the way Parker executed the fight plan to perfection. He was in total control from the outset. By targeting the body early and leading everything off his jab, Parker forced Costa Junior to drop his hands. He created the opening for the crisp, clean shot that landed flush on the jaw. It was easy to forget Parker was only 22 after enduring a heavy workload this year with five victories in the last seven-and-a-half months. "We're developing skill, technique and power," he said. "We're doing everything in the gym to improve. It's taking me a while to learn." Of his 12 unbeaten fights as a pro, last night's fight was comfortably top of the pack. From here, his confidence and ring nous will only grow. "It's going to make a lot of people respect the power of Joseph Parker. I expected Joe to knock him out; I believed he would knock him out," Barry said. "Joe is a very heavy-handed fighter. I don't believe there's anyone out there that can pull the trigger as fast as Joe. Not with the amount of power we can deliver with that speed. "It was by far Joe's best performance. He's been showing me glimpses of that all year in the gym. I thought this was the perfect opponent and the perfect time of year after putting five fights together. "Tonight he showed just how world-class he really is." Attention would now turn to Parker's next potential victim. After a holiday in Samoa he was pencilled in to fight five bouts next year, the first in March; attracting contenders was only going to get more difficult though. In an ideal world Barry could hand pick a top five challenger. He singled out Canada's Bermane Stiverne (24-1) and Uzbekistan's Ruslan Chagaev (33-2) as targets Parker could knock over now. The reality was contenders would be more weary of this South Auckland protégé. For the next six months at least, Parker will have to bowl through a few more stepping stones before landing a big name ticket. "There are a lot of guys in the top 10 I'd fight Joseph with immediately, but that's not how the rankings work," Barry said. "We have to systematically work our way up by fighting fighters like Costa Junior." All good things come to those who wait.

- Stuff

VIDEO:Parker cedes weight to Brazilian opponent

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 Joseph Parker's weighed in at 104.5kg, conceding 11kg to Irineu Beato Costa Jr for tomorrow's Fight for Life headlining bout. Boxing weigh-ins are always eventful. Australian welterweight Jeff Horn had to remove his underwear just to make weight. Limits aren't something the heavyweights have to bother with. Costa Jr tipped the scales at just over a 115kg. The 34-year-old Brazilian appeared to lack conditioning, but appearances can be deceiving. "There's nothing wrong with the stamina of Beato Costa Jr," says Parker's coach Kevin Barry. "He went 12 rounds four weeks ago, so we know he's got a good tank, he can go the distance - it'll be Joe's job to break him down." Parker says he will do that by targeting Costa Jr's massive frame. "The plan is to go into the fight and start working the body in the beginning and slow him down," he says. "We're working on a big body game for this fight, so hopefully I'm able to just nail it and throw those body shots to slow him down and get a good one in there." The last time Parker fought a tall Brazilian things didn't go plan, staggered by Marcelo Luoz Nasciemnto in the sixth round. Barry says he has come a long way since that April fight. "I'm looking for Joe to close 2014 out in emphatic fashion. I really believe that there is a lot more that he hasn't given us this year that he has, and I'm looking to see it tomorrow night out."

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Boxing: Parker facing big weight disparity

New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker will take to the ring against Irineu Beato Costa Junior tomorrow with a weight disadvantage of more than 10kg. Parker tipped the scales at 104.50kg at the official weigh-in at Claudelands Arena today, with his Brazilian opponent recording 115.40kg. However, Parker's lighter weight in comparison to Costa Junior will likely be a big advantage. The 22-year-old is fitter and much faster than Costa Junior and said he would use his assets to stay out of the way of his bigger foe. "He is a big guy but I have trained the house down and I feel good at this weight," Parker, who recorded a similar weight before his last fight in October, said. "I'm going to move around a lot and make him miss with his big punches." His trainer Kevin Barry said: "We've found that 103kg or 104kg is the best weight for Joseph at the moment for his movement, mobility and output." Barry said Parker could go up several kilograms next year as he developed and "grew into his body". In a minor controversy ahead of a corporate bout between Millie Elder-Holmes and Shortland Street actor Frankie Adams, it seems likely that Adams will weigh in over the 68kg limit. Filming commitments prevented her from weighing at the venue today, but she is reportedly 3kg over the limit. Elder-Holmes weighed in at 68kg and said she wanted her opponent to do likewise. Adams has until 3pm tomorrow to weigh in. If she remains overweight, she has two hours to lose it or enter into negotiations with Elder-Holmes and event promoters Duco. "I think she should make weight, obviously," Elder Holmes said. She said she had taken a very disciplined approach to her first fight and it was only fair Adams did likewise. "I can't wait, I'm so excited for tomorrow night," Elder-Holmes said.

VIDEO:Joseph Parker giving away over 10kg, but at his ideal weight

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Joseph Parker is at his ideal weight for his heavyweight clash against Irineu Beato Costa Junior tonight in Hamilton. The 22-year-old weighed in at 104.50kg at Claudelands Arena yesterday, while his Brazilian opponent hit 115.40kg. While that's a big weight advantage to be giving Costa Junior, trainer Kevin Barry said Parker is at the perfect weight for this stage of his career.

"We've found that 103kg, 104kg is the best weight for Joe," Barry said. "He's at his fastest at that weight, his mobility is good at that weight, and his output is terrific at that weight. I like him at 103kg, 104kg." Parker's mixture of speed and power is expected to be too much for Costa Junior, as long as can avoid the Brazilian's power punching. Costa Junior was packing some extra weight around his midsection, compared with Parker who was looking trim and ready to go. The extra speed and fitness that comes with being lighter should give Parker a huge advantage. Parker said he would use his speed to keep away from Costa Junior's big punch, and also to strike quickly when the opportunity arises. "After a good training camp, pushing myself, learning new things, I always feel confident coming back to New Zealand," Parker said. Ad Feedback "I'm prepared for this fight. He's definitely a big guy. Same height, he's a big dude and he's got a weight advantage. I'm not sure if that'll help him or if it'll help me, but he's looking like he's ready to fight." Costa Junior will provide Parker with his first test of height and weight in his professional career. The last time Parker fought someone his own height, he struggled to defeat Brazilian Marcelo Nascimento in Germany. This time around Parker is more confident he will be able to deal with the challenges of a taller fighter. "I'm still learning, and it's going to be a good experience fighting someone my height," Parker said. "If you want to fight the best in the world you've got to start somewhere, and this guy's my height. The guys in the top-1o in the world are all a lot taller than him, so it's a good start. It's going to be a new challenge." If he safely negotiates this fight, the next Joseph Parker we see may be a bigger, stronger fighter. Barry said that while his current weight is good for Parker at his age, next year's fighter could be up to three kilograms heavier. "I think for this year it's been okay," Barry said of Parker's weight. "Next year I'd like to think that Joe will continue developing and growing into his body, and don't be surprised if he's 106kg, 107kg and a lot harder this time next year." Australian Jeff Horn had to shed 4kg in 24 hours to make weight for his fight against Brazilian Robson Assis, eventually hitting 66.65kg with his underwear removed. Assis weighed in at 66.25kg. Shortland Street actress Frankie Adams will have to have shed 3kg by her weigh-in at 3pm today if she is to make weight for her fight with Millie Elder-Holmes. Monty Betham looked in impressive shape as he hit 88.60kg on the scales, 4kg heavier than opponent Carlos Spencer at 84.30kg. Big Ben Tameifuna lived up to his name at 142.55kg as opponent Willie Mason weighed 118.95kg, a weight he said his coach would be pleased about. The Tongan Bear Loni Uhila was 125.30kg for his fight against the Brown Buttabean Dave Letele, who weighed 136.50kg.

- Stuff  

VIDEO:Joseph Parker gives away plenty of weight for next bout (1:59)

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VIDEO:Joseph Parker weighs in 10kgs less than Fight For Life opponent

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Joseph Parker will have to count on the speed of his hands when it comes to tomorrow night's Fight for Lift bout with Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior in Hamilton. The 22-year-old weighed-in at 104.50kgs at today's official weigh-in, while the 34-year-old Brazilian tipped the scales at 115.40kgs. This will be Parker's fifth fight of the year; a key focus in his camp has been working on keeping his hands up, as he's well aware of Costa Junior's power. The two have previously met in a one off sparring session in which the Brazilian did connect with Parker's jaw. Parker is unfazed about his opponent having 10kgs on him. "He's a big guy, but I've trained the house down and I feel good at this weight. I think I'll be able to move around a lot and make him miss with those big punches." There is concern with the women's fight between Millie Elder-Holmes and Shortland Street actress Frankie Adams. Adams, who wasn't at the weigh-in due to filming commitments, is still 3kgs over the agreed weight of 68kgs which Elder-Holmes has made. Adams has until late tomorrow afternoon to make the weight.

VIDEO:Colonel Bob Sheridan previews Saturday’s Parker vs. Beato Costa Jr. bout

By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing

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Hall of Fame commentator Colonel Bob Sheridan previews the ring return of WBA #11, WBO #14 heavyweight Joseph Parker (11-0, 9 KOs) on Saturday against Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior (15-1, 13 KOs) over ten rounds at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton, New Zealand

Boxing: Samoa beckons Parker after bout

A welcome holiday in Samoa is tantalisingly close for Joseph Parker, but first he must pass a final examination of the year in the form of Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior. Costa Junior's presence has already brought back painful memories of an April night in Germany when Parker, the New Zealand heavyweight champion, left the ring with a burst eardrum at the hands of another Brazilian, Marcelo Luiz Nascimento. Parker emerged from the fight victorious thanks to a TKO in the seventh round, one round after a powerful right hand caught him with his head turned away slightly, but the incident has stayed with the 22-year-old and his trainer Kevin Barry. Parker cannot afford to drop his hands against 34-year-old Costa Junior, a powerful man in the prime of his career with only one defeat in 16 professional fights. "Still very fresh in my mind, as I know it's very fresh in Joe's mind, is the fight in Germany in April against Nascimento, that one punch, one bad decision by Joe in the sixth round, turning his head, not covering the right hand ... it nearly cost us the fight," said Barry. Parker admitted the tough schedule of five fights in eight months had taken a toll. "I've been living in the gym, it has caused me to have a few injuries, but after this fight I will have a break and let the body recover." Parker will leave with his parents Sala and Dempsey following the fight for a fortnight's holiday in Samoa, a place where he is building a big following as his fights are also screened there.


Joseph Parker camp unveil 2015 rigid schedule video


With another five fights pencilled in next year, Joseph Parker can't afford to drop his guard on Saturday. Four wins in the past seven and a half months have Parker firmly entrenched inside the top 15 of two boxing organisations - the WBA and WBO. To ensure plans aren't jeopardised, the Kiwi heavyweight must continue his progression against heavy handed Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior on the Fight for Life in Hamilton. With another five fights pencilled in next year, Joseph Parker can't afford to drop his guard on Saturday. Four wins in the past seven and a half months have Parker firmly entrenched inside the top 15 of two boxing organisations - the WBA and WBO. To ensure plans aren't jeopardised, the Kiwi heavyweight must continue his progression against heavy handed Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior on the Fight for Life in Hamilton.

We've got five dates already sorted next year," Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, revealed. "We want to keep this momentum going and keep a busy schedule. "Everyone can see once Joe got going he showed more development and improvement every time. "We've got a long way to go but we've got a very similar schedule next year. "Your whole career changes on one fight, but if everything goes to plan we would like to see Joe ranked very solidly in all the top 10s and even in the top five by one of the organisations by the end of next year." In a mature approach, Parker acknowledged yesterday a shock loss against Costa Junior would derail his career and set him back up to 18 months. One defeat would take the gloss off his unblemished 11-0 record - that's the reality of this brutal business. Parker's focus is squarely on showcasing his full skill set and proving he can, indeed, cope with taller opponents, something that will become more vital as he moves up the ranks. Do that and the rest - a deserved holiday in Samoa and another hectic schedule over the next 12 months - will take care of itself. "It's definitely important to do well. This is make or break," Parker said. "If I lost this fight it will mean we will have to start again on what we've achieved this year. If I win then it's a continuation of that goal to aim for the top. "I think we'll have five or six fights next year. We're moving at a fast pace but everyone is happy with it. It's a team decision and we're looking forward to what the future brings." To sign off his most successful year in style, Parker must incorporate all lessons. Barry wants his protege to work Costa Junior's body earlier than he did against Sherman Williams; to dictate the pace, not drop his hands to avoid being rocked by the big right hand and control the distance with superior hand and feet movement. Those tasks should be enhanced by Costa Junior's come forward approach and the fact he offers an easy target. "He's not the most mobile but definitely the most powerful fighter we've fought," Barry said. "Joe can't afford to make any mistakes, especially in the early rounds." Parker is keen to rectify errors he made in the shaky seventh round TKO win over Marcelo Nascimento, when he suffered a perforated eardrum in the last time he was pitted against a tall foe. Many of the top contenders - world champion Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Furry, Kubrat Pulev, Deontay Wilder and even emerging English star Anthony Joshua - pose similar challenges from height. Parker recently stared down Williams and Brian Minto, allowing him to largely see the punches coming. That won't be the case against Costa Junior. "With a taller guy you don't know what to expect. The opponents I've had are a lot shorter than this guy. Now it's time for me to display what I learnt in all those fights; the whole improvement," he said. "All those guys in the top 10 are tall - 6.7, 6.8. It's good to start fighting someone my height and improve on fighting taller guys all the time."

- Stuff

Interview: Joseph Parker Discusses His Upcoming Fight With Costa Junior

This strange life, such is the itinerant and transient schedule of the professional fighter which constitutes Joseph Parker’s life nowadays: He lives and trains in Las Vegas with Coach Kevin Barry, has fought in three different countries over the course of 2014 and now we find him on a Saturday afternoon in a deserted ballroom at Auckland’s Pullman hotel, just he and Barry hitting the mitts and making small talk along way. Kevin and Joseph have been generous enough to invite us into camp on a couple of occasions now and each time I’ve been struck by how light and humorous the tone is. As an example Kevin mentions Kiwi golfing phenom Lydia Ko who recently collected a $1.5 million dollar payday on the women’s LPGA and Joseph’s eyes light up as he quips to Kevin that ‘maybe it isn’t too late for us to turn to golf!’ There are certainly a few different methodologies you can employ when entering into the lead-up to a fight. Reading Mike Tyson’s autobiography one is struck by the intense state that Cus D’Amato liked to keep his fighter in 24/7. No doubt it helped Tyson’s meteoric rise, but I wonder how viable that approach is long term and one senses from Tyson’s words that it simply wasn’t sustainable. Certainly the more relaxed and friendlier vibe has worked well for Parker and Barry so far as they have enjoyed both a busy and fruitful year. It is also a year that has seen Parker land on Wladimir Klitschko’s radar, having been asked to spar with him twice in 2014, offers which didn’t quite eventuate due to scheduling conflicts.

I ask Kevin if they are able to land some sparring sessions with the champ next year what the potential pluses and minuses may be. ‘I see a lot of upside for Joe sparring with the very best heavyweight in the world. Wlad is the man that all other heavyweights measure themselves against. Joe learned a lot when we fought on Wlad’s card in Germany this year. Not only watching how Wlad used his superior height and reach but how he conducted himself in a totally professional manner. I would love for Joe to have the opportunity to match his skills against Wlad’s. It would give us an indication of where we are at after 2 years and what we need to do to prepare to move up the heavyweight rankings.’ I also ask Kevin as to what his take is on the Costa Junior fight. ‘Considering Brian Minto and Sherman Williams were 5-10, 5-11, Beato brings a totally different size and power to this challenge. He is a very big unit with a very big punch. It will be essential that Joseph shows good discipline and maturity in following a correct fight plan against such a dangerous opponent. We can’t afford to lose focus or composure, when one punch can change the outcome.’ Sitting down with Joseph we talk a little about the past year and of course his upcoming bout with Costa Junior:

ESB: Although you stated you wanted to knock Sherman Williams out in your last fight you ended up going the distance. Do you think it was perhaps better for your overall development to end up going the full 10 rounds? JP: I feel that going the 10 rounds with Sherman I learnt a lot more from that than the other fights we’ve had. I think I needed those rounds if I wanted to grow and become more experienced. Plus I felt my fitness was great. ESB: Looking at the next fight against Costa Junior, being announced at short notice how much of an opportunity have you had to look at him? JP: We’ve seen a bit of footage on him. His last fight Kevin and I saw and some fights before that. It shows on his record that he has some good power on his punches. (Parker has also had the opportunity to spar some rounds with Costa Junior in Las Vegas last year, where he can attest to that power first hand.) ESB: He’s a slightly bigger, taller fighter than the last couple of guys you’ve faced. JP: It’s good to face someone a similar height to myself. Moving forward it’s important to start fighting guys of this type of height. ESB: He is a big puncher so are you looking to get him out early or are you wanting to get some rounds in like you did against Sherman Williams? JP: We have a game plan that we’ve put in place. I feel like we’ve got too much speed for him. If the knockout presents itself we’re definitely going to take it. But we’ve got to be smart about it and we’re trying to finish off the year with a good win. ESB: This is your 5th fight in just over 7 months, are you enjoying that type of schedule? JP: I’ve enjoyed it. You don’t get too much down time, but at this stage of my career it’s important to keep busy. You’re learning every time you jump in the ring. All we can see from the fights so far is that we’re gradually getting better at throwing body shots and gaining more confidence in our punch selection and becoming more complete. ESB: If everything goes according to plan is it going to be a similar schedule next year? JP: Yeah it’s going to be a crucial year and slowly taking steps to keep on improving and moving up the rankings. ESB: And lastly, the division is starting to heat now with a few fighters beginning to make some noise. Is there anyone you specifically like you to tune in and watch? JP: Yeah, Anthony Joshua is making a lot of noise on that side of the world. It’s good to see another prospect coming up. We’re sort of taking the same path and I know he’s watched a few of my fights, and he’s keeping an eye on us and we’re keeping an eye on him. We’ve talked to each other when we were in the amateurs. I mention to Kevin how already there is chat and debate on various fight forums as to the merits of each prospect and their chances should they ever face each other and Kevin agrees, ‘that banter will grow far more next year as they both keep winning.’

At this point it is time for Joseph and Kevin to head downstairs to the deserted ballroom to hit the pads and run through their fight plan. Already in New Zealand as Joseph’s profile continues to grow, more demands and requests for time are being placed on both the fighter and trainer. Success acts as a particular type of magnet and even as I watch them finish this session, upstairs in the lobby some fans patiently wait wanting to have chat and capture a photo with the rising star. Joseph seems to take it all in his stride and his immediate goal remains a simple one: Win on Saturday against Costa Junior. If he achieves that he will head into Christmas enjoying a well deserved break as 2015 beckons, a year where the noise will only grow louder and the interest further amplified. Joseph Parker takes on Irineu Beato Costa Junior on Saturday December 6th at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton.

VIDEO:Boxing: Parker's biggest threat yet

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Observers confident of Parker's chances

 Joseph Parker has called Saturday night's fight with Irineu Beato Costa Jr his end-of-year exam. But he's done his homework, including using a tennis ball in training to make sure he doesn't fail. For a man in a violent profession Parker is a remarkably laid-back character, although today he showed an intensity he rarely displays outside the ring. "It's crucial for me these next three days, because if I get it wrong on Saturday night it can set me back 12 to 18 months in my career," says Parker. It's unlikely Parker will get it wrong though. While Costa Jr matches Parker's size, judging by his open training session observers don't believe the 34-year-old will match Parker's ring craft. "Sometimes he puts his hands down," says Parker. "He's not as fast and he's not really mobile." Parker is still wary of the Brazilian's power, and after getting tagged by Sherman Williams in his last fight, Parker's been working on keeping his chin down. "[Trainer] Kevin [Barry] went and got some tennis balls and then stuck it under my chin and said, 'Jo, you're going to do a few rounds with this.'" Before turning pro at 30 Costa Jr was a security guard, and it's expected he'll try and strong-arm Parker early, although the big Brazilian's giving little away. Willie Mason and Ben Tameifuna met for the first time ahead of their fight, although Tameifuna's reputation precedes him. "It's pretty funny," says Parker. "Everybody in Australia knows he's the guy who pushed the ref." Mason says the 140kg prop will be no pushover in the ring.

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Joseph Parker tipped to continue unbeaten streak


If yesterday's open workout was any gauge, Joseph Parker should have little trouble maintaining his unbeaten record this week. Parker's Brazilian opponent, Irineu Beato Costa Junior (15-1), arrived in Auckland at 4am yesterday along with countryman Robson Assis (14-0), who takes on Australian welterweight Jeff Horn on the Fight for Life in Hamilton. Never mind the jet lag, the pair were immediately thrown into a light session for media purposes. Unsurprisingly, the imposing Costa Junior stole the focus. The big man will stand eye-to-eye with the 193cm Parker and is expected boast a seven kilogram weight advantage (110kg to 103kg). His height is significant, given Parker's previous struggles with tall challengers, such as Marcelo Nascimento. Costa Junior's broad shoulders will produce powerful blows. All heavyweights pack a punch. But other than a dangerous right hand, which stopped 11 Brazilian opponents inside two rounds, the 34-year-old appears limited. Heavy feet, slow hands and a lack of timing were all evident as he worked the pads and hit the bag. Warming up on the skipping rope revealed further agility issues. That's before you factor in question marks about the quality of his local opposition. "I don't know if they are as good as Parker but I knocked them all out so I'm ready for this," he said through a translator. Kevin Barry is a savvy trainer, too. It's no coincidence Costa Junior, the WBO's No 15, and Parker sparred last year. Trading blows in Las Vegas gave Barry a good look at another stepping stone.

Don't be fooled, Barry would not have agreed to this match-up - instead of initial prospect American veteran Vinnie Maddalone - if he was overly concerned about Parker's ability to control proceedings. Barry's young protege will be well versed in keeping his distance early and striking swiftly when openings arise. All opponents come with an element of risk, but Parker is too valuable to take an even-odds contest just yet. The 22-year-old has all the skills to negate Costa Junior and complete his fifth victory this year - a result that would cap the most successful and productive period of his budding pro career. The South Aucklander's footwork and fast hand speed should again be superior, though he will be weary of avoiding Costa Junior's favoured right hand. In his last outing Parker ate too many of Sherman Williams' loopy overhand bombs and previously appeared shaky at times when rattled. A repeat would leave him much more vulnerable. But after surviving his first 10 round test against the durable Williams, there's every reason to suggest Parker will make another step up here. The only time Costa Junior rose in class he lost all 12 rounds against Christian Hammer, the WBO's European champion and world No 6, in Germany. He attributes that one-sided loss in October to being called up late, arriving after a long flight with only a few days to prepare and some poor defence. Don't be surprised if he clutches for similar sentiments following this fight.

- Stuff

VIDEO:Joseph Parker fighting for his boxing life

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Joseph Parker believes a loss on Saturday night could set him back "12 to 18 months". Parker headlines the Fight for Life in Hamilton and after a hectic schedule that's seen him rapidly improve his record to 11-0 he's determined to finish off the year in style. In the past seven-and-a-half months Parker has notched four wins, dispatching Marcelo Nascimento, Brian Minto, Keith Thompson and Sherman Williams in that time. Irineu Beato Costa Junior (15-1) shapes as No.5 for the year. The heavy hitting Brazilian poses a different challenge – combining notable punching power with a tall frame Parker has not encountered since his shaky seventh round TKO win over Nascimento in Germany. But Parker has all the skills to combat the visitor's strengths. Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, outlined the importance of inflicting successive losses on Costa Junior. Such is boxing's ruthless nature, defeat would quickly see him slip from 11th in the WBO and 14th in the WBA. "We've all watched Joe's skill level improve," Barry said today. "He's got better with each fight. We've had a tremendous year, breaking into the top 15 with the WBA and the WBO. It's been a great year for our team, but it will come to nothing if we don't get the right result on Saturday night.

"As Joseph's coach and teacher, for me this is simple. This is like his end of year exam. He's learnt a lot in training camps this year. Now is the time for him to bring all those skills out and put them on display. "We've got a very dangerous opponent in-front of us. It's the sort of challenge Joseph needs." Parker, it seems, has taken heed of Barry's advice. The 22-year-old is heavily favoured to get the job done against the somewhat limited Costa Junior. Before enjoying a holiday in Samoa, he is well aware of the need to maintain progress. Having worked tirelessly to get to this point he has no intention of throwing it all away by being too casual in the ring. "It's been a busy year for me and the team," Parker said. "We've had some great fights. We've got some good results. This is our last fight and it is like the end of year exam.  "It's a big challenge for me fighting someone my height. If I get it wrong on Saturday night it could set me back 12 to 18 months in my career. I'm taking it very seriously. I trained the house down in [Las] Vegas. Now I'm back I'm feeling confident and ready. "We know Costa Junior has a big punch and if I get it wrong and get hit with the same punch I got hit with by Marcelo Nascimento in Germany, it will all go downhill." Costa Junior made a point of pointing out all the pressure rested on Parker's shoulders but, in his typically reserved manner, the South Aucklander appears more and more relaxed with his growing reputation. "There's always going to be pressure. I can feel it but I'm grateful to have the support of New Zealand behind me. I'm representing our country in the ring," he said. "There's probably more pressure because it's our last fight and we're trying to finish with a good win and go on holiday after that. "I'm going to try and control the action and own the zone."

- Stuff

WBA #11 Parker returns Saturday

By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing

When WBA #11, WBO #14 Heavyweight Joseph Parker (11-0, 9 KOs) returns to the ring on Saturday in New Zealand against Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior (15-1, 13 KOs), it will be Parker’s fifth ring appearance of 2014. WBO #15 Costa is coming off a twelve round decision loss against Christian Hammer in October but in his only other 2014 ring outing he dominated Daniel Alejandro Sanabria over twelve rounds to successfully defend the WBO Latino title. Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry says this is a ‘risk versus reward’ fight. “Everyone knows the last time Joe fought a tall Brazilian (Marcelo Luiz Nascimento) he got his ear drum busted. We were expecting an easier lead up to Christmas but have struggled attracting many of the top 15 rated guys and when one comes along we’ve got to take the fight, even if it is at a month’s notice.” Parker, of Samoan descent and born in New Zealand, is coming off a one-sided ten round decision over tough American-based Sherman Williams in October. In August, Parker travelled to the USA and scored a three round stoppage over Keith Thompson. In July, American Brian Minto, who was coming off a stoppage win over New Zealand’s Shane Cameron, was forced to retire at the conclusion of round seven against Parker after visiting the canvas twice. Parker opened his 2014 campaign in April receiving global exposure on the undercard of the world heavyweight title bout between Wladimir Kiltschko vs Alex Leapai where he stopped the aforementioned Nascimento in seven rounds. Parker-Costa will be a ten rounder at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton, New Zealand.

 VIDEO: Joseph Parker’s opponent fires warning shot (1:35)

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Boxing: Parker's opponent insists - 'I'm ready'

Irineu Beato Costa Junior, Joseph Parker's opponent for Saturday's Fight for Life headline bout, has arrived a day late in Auckland but insists his travel drama, which saw him miss a connecting flight, won't count against him. Costa Junior, a big Brazilian who at 1.92m will give away only a centimetre to Parker in height but will likely hold a weight advantage over his Kiwi opponent, arrived in Auckland early this morning. Weather conditions caused him to miss a connecting flight in Santiago, Chile, which put him back 24 hours. It is all very similar to the build-up to his last fight, in Germany in October, his only loss in 16 professional bouts and at that stage his only fight outside South America. Costa Junior was outpointed over 12 rounds by Christian Hammer - no disgrace - until a look at the judges' scorecards confirmed he lost every round. "It was a very long flight and [the fight was organised] at the last minute," Costa Junior said through an interpreter. "I arrived just before the fight and I wasn't feeling ready or right for the fight at all. I couldn't move very well... in the fight my defence wasn't good." Asked how he would cope at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena after a similarly tough travel schedule, he replied: "This time I have arrived a couple of days before the fight. I have time to settle. I am already feeling good." Time will tell whether that is the case, but in Costa Junior's advantage is the fact that he has sparred with 22-year-old Parker before - in Las Vegas last year, a brief match-up which will give him an insight into the South Aucklander's strengths. Before his recent defeat in Niedersachsen, Germany, Costa Junior's 14 previous fights had all been held in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, with the exception of one in Rosario, Argentina. With 13 knockouts among his 15 victories, Costa Junior, ranked 15th in the world by the WBO, has power, and some of that was on display for the television cameras in downtown Auckland today. However, while the training session was purely for show on the day he arrived, the form of the 34-year-old suggests he will be up against it against the faster, fitter and more skilful Parker. Parker, undefeated in 11 professional bouts, also last fought in October, and it also went the distance, a unanimous victory over the durable Sherman Williams. He vowed to be only the second man to knock out Williams, who goes by the nickname 'Tank', but failed to achieve that goal, and it will be interesting to see his approach against Costa Junior, both during the build-up and on the night itself. Parker, ranked the world's 10th best heavyweight by the WBA, is likely to show more respect for a powerful opponent in the prime of his career, but must know that once he weathers the first three rounds or so, his superior hand and foot speed should carry him to victory.

- NZ Herald

VIDEO:Parker gives boxing lesson in Auckland school

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 Joseph Parker visited a south Auckland school today ahead of the next step in his boxing education, Saturday's Fight for Life. The bout with Brazilian Beato Costa Jr will be the last in a long year for the 22-year-old heavyweight. Dropping in on Manurewa Intermediate assembly, Parker and coach Kevin Barry passed on life lessons to the students – some serious, some not. "When I said before about hard work, this young man beside me has been nothing but hard work," said Barry. Parker's next opponent may not be the world's greatest, but he's ranked 15 by the WBO and possesses a heavy right hand. Parker knows what will happen if he drops his left hand, having sparred Costa Jr last year. Parker's past two fights have been against shorter opponents, but Barry feels he's well equipped to handle the 193cm Brazilian. "We had sparred a number of rounds with Joseph's teammate, Izu Ugono, who is 6ft 5in [182cm], so that played into our hands nicely," said Barry. Saturday's fight will be Parker's fifth since April. He's confident today won't be the last boxing lesson he gives this week.

3 News

VIDEO:Joseph Parker knows opponent packs a punch video


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A chance meeting last year has already given Joseph Parker an idea of the punching power of his Brazilian opponent for Saturday night's Fight For Life feature heavyweight boxing bout in Hamilton. Irineu Beato Costa Junior wandered into the Las Vegas gym where Parker was working with his trainer Kevin Barry looking for sparring work. Parker took him on for "three or four rounds" and soon discovered the 34-year-old had some grunt to go with his imposing size. WARY: Joseph Parker knows his opponent in Saturday night's Fight For Life feature bout, Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior, has real punching power after the pair sparred in Las Vegas last year. WARY: Joseph Parker knows his opponent in Saturday night's Fight For Life feature bout, Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior, has real punching power after the pair sparred in Las Vegas last year. "What I remember was we had big sparring gloves on and he caught me with a good punch that I felt. I definitely felt his power with his right hand," Parker said. "That's something I have to be careful of. I've watched clips and he likes to throw that right hand, that's what he has knocked out most of his opponents with." Since then Costa has gone on to be the WBO's Latino champion, ranking 15th with that organisation, one spot below Parker who is also No 10 with the WBA. Coasta has secured 13 knockouts in his 15 wins, with 11 of them coming in the first two rounds. Parker said he had been working on his defence in his latest camp in Vegas with Barry imploring him to keep his left hand higher. The sloppy guard has been one of the few problem areas for Parker during his rapid rise. He got clipped badly by his last Brazilian opponent Marcel Luiz Nascimento in their May fight in Germany and was also caught a couple of times by Sherman Williams (Bahamas) in his last bout in Auckland in October, a 10-rounder that went the distance.

Parker can shape up but told not to square up


Trainer Kevin Barry is challenging Joseph Parker to produce the most calculated performance of his young but exciting professional boxing career to overcome his next challenge. The 22-year-old faces heavy-hitting Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior in the feature bout of the Fight For Life extravaganza in Hamilton on December 6. Costa's dangers are obvious - he has 13 knockouts in his 15 victories and 11 of them have come in the first two rounds. But he also has a bit of durability to him - he comes to New Zealand off the only loss of his career, a unanimous decision against Christian Hammer, the WBO's European champion and world No 6, in Germany in October. "I want everything to be very calculated. It has to be," Barry said. "This guy is a heavy hitter. Joseph can't afford a lapse of concentration or a rush of blood to the head with this guy. It will come down to Joseph being patient and focussed." Costa has a slight height advantage and will come with more weight than Parker. Barry is adamant Parker has attributes to counter that. "Joe needs to use his superior hand speed and better boxing skills. That will cancel out this guy's power and size advantages." Parker and Barry are working on a fight plan in the final days of their training camp in Las Vegas. They arrive in New Zealand later this week to taper off for the fight. Much of their strategy will be about Parker fighting off angles to avoid being a square target to Costa. Barry said the recent decision to include Izuagbe Ugonoh, the Polish-Nigerian, in his stable had proven invaluable in terms of preparation for this fight. Taking it on at late notice, Ugonoh had provided an ideal sparring partner with his size and power. Barry said the latest camp in Vegas had gone well since they returned there following Parker's last win, the unanimous decision over 10 rounds against Bahamas heavyweight Sherman Williams in Auckland in October. They had worked hard on fitness and general skills while waitng for an opponent to be confirmed. Now it was about details. Barry admitted Parker had "a few niggles", the result of a busy schedule. This will be his fifth fight in eight months. "After having six months off with that cut to his eye we set ourselves a very aggressive schedule and we've managed to do it," Barry said.

- Sunday News

Angove: Parker faces tall order to capture title


OPINION: With the epic heavyweight clash of Shane Cameron and Kali Meehan decided (and believe me it was epic, the best heavyweight bout I have seen in this part of the world for more than a decade), my attention turns to the abundant promise of Joseph Parker. The 22-year-old heavyweight prospect that has captured New Zealand's imagination, and will fight for the fifth time in eight months at Claudelands Arena on December 6. His hard-hitting Brazilian opponent, Irineu Costa Beato Jr, ticks all the right boxes for the development of Parker's career to this point. He was ranked in the WBO's top 15 in October before his loss to Romanian World No 6, Christian Hammer, he's a similar height to Parker, changing the way the Kiwi will have to use his jab and range in terms of strategy against a taller man. The Brazilian is not an exceptionally quick heavyweight and tends to throw punches in ones and twos which means Parker should have a speed advantage, but he hits very, very hard and the constant danger of his heavy hands means Parker will have to keep his wits about him the entire fight. In many ways this fight is the ideal litmus test to gauge where Parker sits compared to Hammer, who outpointed Beato Jr in October. A knockout win here would make a substantial statement to other fighters currently residing in the top 10.

At this point I have to congratulate Kevin Barry, who is doing an excellent job in developing Parker's career and not rushing him too fast into the top 10 of the division. Although New Zealand is crying out for another "Tuaman", we tend to forget that David Tua had 22 fights before he fought John Ruiz, his first serious opponent of note to win the WBC international title in 1996. Joseph Parker has had 11 professional fights … Why be patient, you ask? Unlike in the amateurs where a loss is a learning experience, in the pro ranks, a loss for a prospect can set you back 12-18 months. Consequently, the learning must be done on the job, against opponents who are challenging and offer the opportunity to develop skills, but ultimately should be beatable. And this is where we need to set our expectations with Joseph Parker - being excited by his development and improvement each fight rather than focusing solely on the ranking of the man in front of him. Against Botha it was power and the ability to leverage his right hand, against Minto it was the ability to fight like a big man, stick to a game plan and shut down the American brawler on the inside. Against Sherman William's the plan was similar but Tank had a bigger punch and better chin so it was also 10 invaluable rounds in the bank. These will be crucial when Parker finds himself in the trenches with fighters of similar athletic ability in the not too distant future.

Looking ahead to the Brazilian, we need to see not only Parker's hand speed at play, but also his footwork as he handles a bigger man who can physically bully him to the ropes and pin him there. There will be times when Parker must be the matador using his rapier jab and handspeed to rattle the durable Brazilian and ghost out of range, and other times when he will be forced to the ropes and either have to shut down, turn Costa Beato Jr onto the ropes, or fight on the inside, which will show a new aspect to his game. Most important in my mind for this fight, however, is the step up in height. Wladimir Klitscho is 6ft 6in, Kubrat Pulev 6ft 5in, Deontay Wilder 6 ft 6.5in , Tyson Fury 6ft ft 9in, Mariusz Wach 6 ft 7in, Lucas Browne 6 ft 4in and let's not forget Anthony Joshua, the British Olympic Gold medallist, who knocked out Michael Sprott on the weekend and is 10-0 with 10 KOs - is also 6ft 6in and the other next 'BIG' thing in the division. The top 10 is littered with really big men who Joseph will have to learn how to dominate in order to win a world title and keep it over the long term. We shouldn't be too fast to hurry Parker before he has developed his craft and game plan against the monstrous behemoths who occupy the top echelons of the division. Each fight is a stone in a brick by brick foundation process the young man must lay down as a launching pad so when he leaps into the top five he can be certain of knocking them of their perch. As a boxing fan my excitement will come from Joseph's development and his constant progress, but to be fair, if Parker knocks the Brazilian out it will be a substantial tick on the Kevin Barry/DUCO Christmas list.

- Stuff

Joseph Parker to fight Irineu Costa Beato Jr

Hard-hitting Brazilian Irineu Costa Beato Jr has been named as rising New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker's next opponent. The 192cm 34-year-old from Sao Paulo holds the WBO Latino Heavyweight title and is ranked world number 15 to Parker's 10. The fight will be top billing of the Fight for Life in Hamilton on December 6. Earlier this month, Beato suffered the first loss of his 15-fight professional career. However, 13 of his victories have been by knockout and 11 were in the first two rounds. Twenty-two-year-old Parker, unbeaten in 22 fights, had been tipped to fight 40-year-old American Vinny Maddalone but his promoters say their demands for a younger and tougher opponent have been listened to. It will be a "risk versus reward" fight, says Parker's trainer Kevin Barry. "Everyone knows the last time Joe fought a tall Brazilian (Nascimento in Germany April 2014) he got his ear drum busted. "We were expecting an easier lead up to Christmas but have struggled attracting many of the top 15 rated guys and when one comes along we've got to take the fight, even if it is at a month's notice." Beato was bigger and punched harder than Parker's previous opponents Brian Minto and Sherman Williams, Barry said. On the undercard, promising unbeaten Australian welterweight Jeff Horn will take on another Brazilian in Robson Assis, who is also unbeaten. In rugby versus league, Carlos Spencer's first pro fight is against Monty Betham and Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna will meet former Kangaroo Willie Mason. The adopted daughter of late broadcaster Sir Paul Holmes, Millie Elder-Holmes, will fight Shortland Street television actress Frankie Adams.


VIDEO:Joseph Parker to face big KO threat

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Joseph Parker will go glove-to-glove with another top 15 ranked opponent when he headlines next month's Fight for Life in Hamilton. The 22-year--old rising heavyweight star will face 34-year-old Irineu Costa Beato Junior. The bout will be the highest World ranked heavyweight fight ever staged in New Zealand, with the Brazilian having a WBO ranking of 15. Parker was to have been getting into the ring with New Yorker Vinny Maddelone, however in a statement Parker's connections said due to the demands from fans for a younger, tougher opponent they have opted to go with the 6'3ft (192cm) boxer. He's likely to be the hardest puncher Parker has ever faced; Costa is a knockout specialist having KOed 13 of his 15 opponents with 11 of those coming within in the first two rounds. Parker's trainer Kevin Barry says this is a 'risk versus reward' fight. "Everyone knows the last time Joe fought a tall Brazilian (Nascimento in Germany April 2014) he got his ear drum busted. "We were expecting an easier lead up to Christmas but have struggled attracting many of the top 15 rated guys and when one comes along we've got to take the fight, even if it is at a month's notice." This fight without a doubt will be Joseph's toughest test to date," says respected international matchmaker, Stuart Duncan.  "Beato is bigger than Sherman and Minto and punches harder than both of them."

Boxing: Beato a big threat to Parker

By David Skipwith

Joseph Parker has had to adjust his focus ahead of the Fight for Life now he will face WBO world No 15 Irineu Costa Beato jnr instead of American Vinny Maddalone. After Parker entered the world's top 10 in the WBA last week, boxing promoters Duco Events decided to change his opponent for the December 6 event at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena, lining him up against the hard-hitting 34-year-old Brazilian. Parker's trainer Kevin Barry says his charge faces a big challenge to maintain his impressive form and record and finish off a busy year in style. "It's a pretty big fight to finish the year with," Barry explained. "We are fighting an opponent that is very dangerous, the Brazilian champion, and an opponent that Joseph will need to be very focused and very disciplined against. "We've had a tremendous year. This is Joseph's fifth fight in the last seven and a half months. We have to make sure now that we close the year out in good style." The 1.91m Beato has knocked out 80 per cent of his opponents and has never been knocked out. His only defeat came just over three weeks ago, in a points decision against world No9 Christian Hammer in Germany. That result worries Barry. "The fact that he is coming off the first loss of his career just a few weeks ago makes him a real threat to us. We know he is match fit. It's a danger sign because he'll be looking at Joseph's No10 world ranking and looking at this as an opportunity to get himself back into the rankings again." Sparring sessions against Polish fighter Izuagbe Ugonoh have helped Parker. "[Ugonoh's] now 10 and 0 with eight KOs and he's 6"5 [1.98m]. The fact that Joe's been sparring him for the last three weeks is definitely going to be a help to us fighting Irineu Costa Beato jnr. [Ugonoh] also has much faster hands and is probably a better skilled boxer."

- NZ Herald

Joseph Parker hoping to give Beato a beating


A top boxer deserves a top opponent and now Joseph Parker has one to face in the upcoming KFC Fight for Life event at Claudelands Arena on December 6, in the form of Brazil's best. Boxing promoters Duco Events responded to Parker's recent elevation to the WBA's world top 10 by bringing in WBO World number 15 Irineu Costa Beato Junior to fight him, in place of his original opponent, American Vinny Maddalone. It makes the bout the highest world-ranked heavyweight fight ever staged in New Zealand, and Beato likely the hardest puncher Parker will have ever faced. The 1.9 metre tall Brazilian is a knockout specialist, KO-ing 13 of his 15 opponents. Eleven of those knockouts have come inside the first two rounds. His only loss is against world number nine Christian Hammer, whom he travelled to Germany to face, on points. Adding to the fight's credibility, Beato is also in his prime at 34 years old. Parker, by comparison, is a youthful 22. "This fight, without a doubt, will be Joseph's toughest test to date," international matchmaker, Stuart Duncan said. "Beato is bigger than [recent opponents] Sherman [Williams] and [Brian] Minto and punches harder than both of them." Parker's trainer Kevin Barry described the new title card a "risk versus reward" fight. "Everyone knows the last time Joe fought a tall Brazilian [Marcelo Nascimento in Germany, April this year] he got his ear drum busted. "We were expecting an easier lead up to Christmas but have struggled, attracting many of the top 15 rated guys and when one comes along we've got to take the fight, even if it is at a month's notice." Beato is the second top 15 world-rated opponent Parker will face this year, after beating WBO number 12 Brian Minto in July. David Higgins, the director of Duco events, said he was thrilled to have secured Beato on the billing. "We are serious about wanting to improve Parker. We wanted to have him fight the very best opponent we could get. It's taken about three weeks longer than we expected, but I think we have come up trumps. This is going to be the most credible top rank fight ever in New Zealand. "When Tua fought Ustinov, Tua was unranked. And when Tua faced Cameron, Cameron was unranked. Here we have the No 10 versus the No 15. At the end of the day Joe will fight whoever is put in front of him. All the best fighters have that attitude." Another highlight of the Fight for Life is the glamorous undercard match-up between Millie Elder-Holmes and Shortland Street star Frankie Adams. Monty Betham and Carlos Spencer will go head to head, while Chiefs and Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna is up against Australian league star Willie Mason.

- Waikato Times

Joseph Parker signs 'risk versus reward' fight

Rising New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has been handed a tricky assignment to headline next month's Fight For Life promotion, tangling with world-ranked Brazilian Irineu Beato Costa Junior. It's been a long and difficult search to find an opponent for Parker. His management wanted to provide a pressure test to finish off a busy year for the 22-year-old and have discarded veteran American Vinny Maddalone in preference for Costa. The 34-year-old comes with a WBO ranking of 15, one lower than Parker who has also lifted to No 10 with the WBA. Victory would bring Parker further reward on the rankings list as Duco Events look to manoeuvre him towards a title shot. Matchmaker Stuart Duncan had no doubts that this will be Parker's sternest test in an unbeaten career that has notched 11 wins since turning pro in mid-2012. Costa has 15 wins and just one loss to his name. That loss came in his last fight, a unanimous decision over 12 rounds in Germany in October to Christian Hammer, the WBO's European champion and world No 6. It's the nature of Costa's wins that signals danger for Parker - 13 of the 15 have come via knockouts and 11 of those have come in the first two rounds. Parker's trainer Kevin Barry has been working overtime on his homework after Costa was confirmed to him just three weeks out from the December 6 bout in Hamilton. Parker has been busy with his fitness in anticipation of his Hamilton date and that department, plus his speed, should be an advantage over Costa who has had his movement questioned at times. But it's now about working on a fight plan to counter Costa's obvious strengths. "I know he's dangerous. He's a very, very heavy hitter. You don't have that record if you don't have heavy hands," Barry said when asked what he knew of Costa. "He's the WBO Latino champion, he's the Brazilian champion . . . he's got very solid credentials." Barry noted that Parker had survived "a couple of concerning moments" in his last tangle with a Brazilian when he recovered to knock out Marcelo Nascimento in the seventh round of their April clash in Germany on Wladimir Klitchsko's undercard. "Costa is much heavier-handed than Nascimento," Barry said. "But since then Joe has developed and improved quite a bit too. "This is a risk versus reward fight. We were expecting an easier lead up to Christmas but have struggled attracting many of the top 15 rated guys and when one comes along we've got to take the fight, even if it is at short notice." Barry said the situation demanded total focus from Parker. "It's very important that Joe fights with discipline and patience. He can't be careless because one punch [from Costa] could finish this." Parker and Barry face a busy final week of training in Las Vegas before arriving in New Zealand for a 10-day tapering period up to the fight.

Joseph Parker's next opponent almost secured


Joseph Parker's frustrated promoters have had to lower their sights for his next fight, entering contract negotiations with American veteran Vinnie Maddalone. Parker will headline the Fight For Life extravaganza in Hamilton on December 6. High hopes to get a ranked opponent have had to be tempered by the machinations that go with match-making as Parker starts to make a name for himself. The top five fighters are all protecting their rankings to get a mandatory title shot and the group from 10-15 in the rankings are not in risk-taking moods. In basic terms, plenty are running scared, not wanting to hop in a ring with Parker who is rapidly rising up the ladder - 11 with the WBA and 14 with the WBO. Australian Lucas Browne (WBC No 6, WBA No 5, IBF No 7), Puerto Rican Fres Oquendo (WBA No 8) and Australia's Mark De Mori (WBA No 9) have all said no to lucrative offers.

Main Events, the American handlers of Russian Vyacheslav Glazkov (IBF No 2, WBO No 11, WBC No 8, WBA No 12) want an option with Parker moving forward in their terms for any clash now, but Duco Events aren't going to give up a slice of their prize fighter. Duco are going to have to dig deep into their pockets to get a big name to head to New Zealand and that won't now happen until next year as they work on the sponsorship plans to deliver that. ''It's what's stifling the sport of boxing,'' Duco's Dean Lonergan said of the politics involved in getting decent fights. In the meantime, 40-year-old New Yorker Maddalone is being courted, presenting a respectable record of 37 wins, eight losses and a draw with 28 of his wins coming via knockout. He hasn't fought this year but he's won four of his last six fights and has been in the ring with the likes of Tyson Fury, Denis Boystov, Jean Marc Mormeck, Tomasz Adamek and Evander Holyfield. Putting some perspective on him for Kiwi audiences, Maddalone has had two losses to Brian Minto, the American that Parker knocked out in July. A fast-rising Minto knocked out Maddalone in the 10th and seventh rounds of their fights in 2004 and 2005. In the independent rankings produced by the respected BoxRec website, Parker sits at No 29 with Maddalone placed at No 69. Parker's trainer Kevin Barry believes that on short notice, Maddalone is ''a perfect opponent'' whose aggressive style will suit both Parker and the audience. ''Vinnie has always been a guy that I thought would be a good test at some stage,'' Barry said. ''He's as tough as they come. He's very heavy handed, especially in the first couple of rounds ... he's a dangerous guy. He will come forward and fight and Joe is going to have to beat him down. ''After the challenges of fighting a very defensive fighter like Sherman Williams who was more content to dodge punches and hold, this guy will fight with Joe. ''As far as a style for Joe, I like guys that come forward and come on to him. With Joe's fast-rate punches, it's better that they are coming to us and we're not chasing.'' Parker and Barry head back to Las Vegas tonight for a four-month camp with Barry set to base his plans on countering Maddalone's tactics. - Stuff