VIDEO:Boxing: Parker camp having difficulty nailing down the next opponent

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The Joseph Parker camp would like to leave Auckland for Las Vegas in a few days with the heavyweight's next opponent - preferably a world-ranked fighter - confirmed, but it's proving to be a frustratingly difficult process. The boxer's promoter Dean Lonergan of Duco Events said after Parker beat Sherman Williams in a unanimous decision over 10 rounds at Trusts Arena on Thursday night that the best heavyweights were scared of fighting the 22-year-old for fear of tarnishing their records. Parker himself said it might not be as simple as that, but, either way, his opponent for the main bout at the Fight for Life event in Hamilton on December 6 is yet to be organised and the clock is ticking. "We're in the middle of organising opponents for Joseph ... and I've got to tell you, it's incredibly hard, there's a lot of people that we have put big-money offers into and they just won't fight him," Lonergan said. "There are a number of guys in the top 10 walking away going 'no thanks'. Lucas Browne is one of them, Travis Kauffman is another." Trainer Kevin Barry added: "Dean has offered big purses to them, more money than they've ever been paid before, and they're all turning the fight down. Dean must have sent out 30 proposals to ranked guys but we're having a bit of trouble." Lonergan said: "It's very, very frustrating. "We've put a lot of pressure on our match-maker Stuart Duncan and he's out there combing the world. I'd like to think in the very near future, before Joe goes home ... we'll have someone in the bag." Parker, who looked fresh and unmarked after going 10 rounds for the first time in his career, said later: "I don't think people are running. A lot of them are already busy and already scheduled to fight again." His victory over the tough Williams, which allowed him to retain his WBA PABA and WBO Oriental heavyweight titles and extended his record to 11-0, keeps him on track for a world title fight in the near future. In August before Parker comfortably beat journeyman Keith Thompson in Pennsylvania, Lonergan suggested the South Aucklander would be aiming for a title fight next year, but that has been pushed out to probably 2016 at the earliest. Barry said: "We have work to do. Dean would like us fighting for a world title next month but for me it's more like 18 months to two years." Parker, ranked 11th in the WBO going into the fight, was happy with his long-term strategy. "At the schedule we're going at the moment I'm happy we're taking the right fights," he said. "I think if we keep training hard and developing my skills and techniques that in two years' time I can be a better beast than I am now." Williams, 42, hit Parker with several overhand rights, but it was his ring-craft and unsettling tactics - hitting below the belt and after the bell and break - which would have been valuable in terms of adding to Parker's experience. Despite that, Parker looked reasonably comfortable, the only disappointing element his inability to knock Williams out as promised.

- NZ Herald

Joseph Parker vs Sherman Williams round by round

By Eugene Carnachan

Great crowd, the corporate seats at ringside are full with the Auckland bourgeoisie out to watch the latest edition of New Zealand’s heavyweight hopefuls in Joseph Parker. Parker at 22 years of age and Williams twenty years his senior at 42 years of age has the youthful zeal and fitness firmly on his side. Parker sporting a record 10 (KO 9) – 0 and Williams at 36 (19)-13-2 has his comparative trainer wheels on in terms of experience, however experience won’t be the defining factor in this fight. Parker’s youth and volume punching should be the dividing line that will ultimately get him over the line, his 5 inch height advantage over the 5 ft. 11 Williams will present all sorts of problems for the durable but aged warrior. Many pundits are calling an early end to fight via a Parker KO. Williams has a chin on him, he’s going nowhere fast. Expect this fight to go into the mid to the latter rounds if not the distance based both on the experience of the Bahamian, and the sheer dogmatic nature that has only seen him stopped once in his career – that stoppage caused by a burst ear drum. Last interview I heard with Williams he belligerently dismissed the notion of being stopped by Parker. At stake is the regional Oriental Pacific WBO Heavyweight belt. Ring walk – Joseph Parker looks in outstanding condition. Sherman Williams is not in the same svelte ascetic shape as Parker and the Monika ‘The Tank’ explains well his body type, short, squat, thickset and not much of a neck to speak of. Good stare-down from both fighters.

Round 1: Parker comes out to mid-ring, Parker jabbing, tentative, Parker goes down stairs with a jab. Parker looks quick, very quick. Parker pawing with his jab. Parker looks like he’s shopping with the jab to send the right down the chute. Williams sends an ineffectual jab to Parkers midriff. Parker outworking Williams but nothing telling landing, and in writing that he lands a short right hand that has nil effect on the Bahamian. 10 – 9 Parker – busier.

Round 2: Parker waiving and pawing with his left in looking to set up the right. He may need to put some mustard on the jab. Parker lands a right hand. Williams bull rushes Parker, lands a right that appears to get Parkers attention. Was he momentarily shook up? Parker back to moving, nice double up on his jab. Parker with a nice uppercut, followed by a right hand. Both men have had their moments but Parker busier. Parker pops a right hand behind Williams ear. 10 – 9 Parker – busier, more industrious.

Round 3: Parker feeling out Williams with the jab. Uppercut, overhand right connects from Parker. Williams lets go with a counter left that misses. Williams goes downstairs and upstairs with a left, nice. Williams looking to counter, Parker letting his hands go, and crowd gets excited, nothing meaningful. Williams misses big with a Hale Mary of a right hand that had home run written all over it. Unfortunately for him it was short by six inches or more. 10 – 9 Parker – more industrious.

Round 4: Parker misses with a right hand, doubles up beautifully with a right hand to the body, then upstairs to the head. Williams loads up the right hand, misses. Big body shot, it may have hurt Williams, he buckled over. He looks to have recovered. Williams looking for the big overhand right. Nice 1-2 down the chute by Parker, Parker backing Williams into the ropes looking to unload, Parker holds on nullifying the attack. Parker looks to be stinging Williams with his shots. Williams is a one helluva durable chap. 10 – 9 Parker – simply doing more.

Round 5: Technically Parker looks great. Punching nice and straight, creating leverage, the kid is on point…at this point. Parker downstairs with a right to the body. Parker trying to work the air out of Williams tires with shots to the midriff. Sherman back with a body shot of his own. Sherman pulled up for a shot below the belt, doesn’t appear to have worried Parker in any stretch. Parker loads up a right hand, then an uppercut. Parker looking to put more mustard on his punches. Tank lets go with a big overhand right that misses. 10 – 9 Parker – more of the same.

Round 6: Parker pawing with his jab. Williams jabs to Parkers body. Straight right hand lands from Williams. Parker pushing in, touching Williams up and getting out. Parker with a combination, looks to have got Williams attention. Williams goes downstairs to the body with a couple of shots. Williams simply unable to bridge the gap between the two and with that written Williams back Parker into the corner and connects with an overhand right, looks like that shot hurt Parker, definitely got his attention. Williams trying to come on in pressing the action. 10 – 10 – hard to differentiate between the two. Both had their moments.

Round 7: Parker working off the jab, Williams replies in kind with a couple of his own. Parker a right hand on the top of Williams head. Parker not sustaining his attack. He could be a little short breathed. Parker staying on the outside. Uneventful round. 10 – 9 – Parker controlled the action.

Round 8: Parker pawing with the jab, not sitting on it. Parker lands a great right to the body. Williams felt that shot. Parker coming on, Williams backing up. Parker controlling proceedings. Williams misses with a big right hand by at least 8 inches. Parker controlling the real estate well, rendering Williams ineffectual. Not making for a good fight but Parker showing good boxing wherewithal. Nice 1-2 by Parker, Williams wears it well. 10 – 9 Parker – far more industrious.

Round 9: Nice 1-2 by Parker. Parker down stairs then back upstairs, good skill. Tank hangs on. Parker looking to pressure Tank. Parker tries another 1-2, Williams wearing them well. The tank looks to be empty on The Tank, is he ready to go, he’s hanging tough. Parker bullying the Bahamian. 10 – 9 Parker – simply outworking Williams.

Round 10: Parker lands a great right hand, doesn’t budge Williams an inch. Parkers hand speed is sharp, very, very sharp. Wouldn’t be many heavies in the world with hands as quick as Parker. Has Williams got a run left in him. Williams showboating, laying down the slowest Ali Shuffle you’ll ever see, then a half backed Sugar Ray Leonard bolo…that he doesn’t throw. Parker staying on the outside. Parker controlling the ring real estate, good left hand landed by Williams but far to little to late. Fight will go the distance. Probable decision – Parker by a shutout. Williams raising his hands as if he won. Wishful thinking at its most grandiose. Parker looked composed, calm and in control with Williams having some sporadic moments. Be good to see Parker fighting taller fighters in his development given the height of the K-Bros, Wilder, Fury, Joshua etc. Decision in – Parker by unanimous decision. Parker and Williams are talking mid-ring. It sounds as if Williams is telling Parker he hurt him 4 times. Parker looking at him with an incredulous look on his face. Parker post fight talk – ‘I came here to knock him out…’ Sherman interjects, telling the crowd he thinks he won, that he hurt him ‘four times with overhand right’ and that he wants to do it again. Parker ever the gentleman tries to be the diplomat as Williams agitates for a rematch. Parker won the fight but Williams hitting a shutout in the post-fight banter. Kevin Barry, coach of Parker – ‘you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see who won this fight’ and that’s entirely correct. Parker moving on to bigger and better things.

Next opponent the priority for Joseph Parker


Joseph Parker's handlers are struggling to get him an opponent for December's Fight For Life but trainer Kevin Barry wants it sorted out by Thursday. That's when he and Parker head back to Las Vegas to go into camp, acutely aware of the tight turnaround after gaining a tough unanimous points decision against Sherman Williams of the Bahamas in their heavyweight boxing clash Auckland. Duco bosses Dean Lonergan and David Higgins have been frustrated in their attempts to line up a worthy opponent for Parker, claiming top fighters are running scared. Barry is sharing their frustrations. "The most important thing for me leaving next Thursday that we have an opponent signed so I know who to prepare Joe for," Barry said. "That will determine the game plan we put in place for who we are fighting." Lonergan said big money and Parker's two respected belts seemingly weren't enough to get the people they wanted in the ring with the 22-year-old who is ranked No 11 with the WBA and 14 with the WBO. "We are in the middle of trying to secure fights for Joe right now for December 6 and it's incredibly hard," Lonergan said. "The people we are putting big money offers to just won't fight him. "We want tough fights for Joe but there are a number of guys in the top 10 walking away and going ‘no thanks'. "You go back again and say what do you want to get paid and they just say ‘no thanks'." Lonergan confirmed Australian Lucas Browne, No 6 with the WBC and No 7 with the IBF, and American Travis Kaufman, No 6 with the WBA, won't get in the ring with Parker right now. "These are guys in the top 10 at the moment. "Dean's offering big purses to them, more money than they've ever been paid before and yet they are turning fights down," Barry noted, believing Duco had sent out "about 30 proposals" to fighters for December. Lonergan said their matchmaker Stuart Duncan was "combing the world" and they "hoped to have someone in the bag" before Parker leaves next week. Parker's management don't want to take a step backwards as they try to manoeuvre him up the rankings, particularly spreading his name into the WBC and IBF organisations. Parker is earning respect, mixing his power with tactical nous as he showed in beating Williams to claim his 11th straight victory. His career and succession of opponents are on an upward curve. "We want guys who are going to help us with our rankings because we want to be fighting for a world title, so we have to target certain guys and we can't take easy fights along the way. We have to take fights that test us," Lonergan said. Barry, who has the final say on opponents, reiterated that philosophy. He believed Parker could be ready for a world title shot in "18 months to two years". But that required the right opponents to give him the necessary examinations along the way. "Right back at the beginning we said we would put Joe in fights that would test him and allow him to improve. This is what we have done," Barry said. Asked what sort of fighter he'd like for Fight For Life, Barry said: "We like aggressive guys who are going to come forward and fight Joe, not someone as passive as Sherman, probably not as defensive as Sherman . . . someone who will really come and try and beat Joe."

-Fairfax NZ

Video:Joseph Parker on the hunt for opponent

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 Joseph Parker has beaten Sherman Williams and now the heavyweight boxer has a problem - finding a highly ranked opponent willing to fight him. Even big money offers haven't been enough to lure top 10 fighters, and his promoters want someone locked in next week. Parker overcame the biggest challenge of his pro career with a unanimous decision against Williams. Now his promoters are doing it tough searching for better opponents for Fight for Life in seven weeks. Organiser Dean Lonergan says there are a number of top 10 fighters saying, "No thanks." "Lucas Browne is one of them, Travis Kauffman another, and these are guys you'll find are up there, you know." Parker's trainer Kevin Barry says Lonergan has offered the fighters "big purses" to fight Parker. "It's more money than they've ever been paid before, and yet they're turning the fights down." They want someone signed when Parker and Barry fly back to Las Vegas on Thursday. If they're desperate there's always Williams, who was upset by the scoring and demanded a rematch. Two judges felt Parker's ring dominance and jab earned him every round, while the other called it 97-94. 3 News Williams eventually conceded defeat, but continued to argue his point. However Parker said he thought the fight was fair. "He clipped me a few times but I thought I out boxed him." Williams won't get a rematch because he's served his purpose for Parker's camp. The 42-year-old's defensive approach made the Kiwi work hard to land shots and pushed him to 10 rounds for the first time. The wily veteran's tricks, like a cheap shot after the bell, kept 11th-ranked Parker on his toes and got Kevin Barry out of his corner. "I learnt a lot fighting Sherman and I know I'm going to improve." Barry says as a coach, he was very pleased. "The only thing was we threw a lot more body shots in training camp." The lessons will continue when Parker returns to Las Vegas next week - it's now just a question of who he'll use them on in December.

VIDEO: Joseph Parker set for Tank rematch? (1:46)

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Joseph Parker gets the rounds 'he needed'


New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker reckons he has learned more from 10 rounds against Sherman Williams than he has in his last 10 fights and will take those lessons forward as his camp plots his next move. At the end of an enthralling 10 rounds in Auckland last night, judges awarded Parker a unanimous decision to stretch his unbeaten record to 11 wins. The win was not without controversy though with Parker claiming dubious tactics from Williams and the Bahamas heavyweight crying foul at the New Zealand judges. *Ring-side report: Parker taken the distance Williams, a 42-year-old veteran, did everything he could to rattle Parker - standing on his feet to slow his movement, leading with his head when he could, hitting him low, hitting him in the back of the head and hitting him after the bell, inciting Parker's trainer Kevin Barry to jump into the ring and offer a very strong opinion after the third round. The veteran even got Parker four times with his trademark looping overhand right that he believed should have earned him better reward. Williams didn't dispute he'd lost, but he was furious that two of the three judges gave all 10 rounds to Parker. Williams suggested it was "worse than being robbed in New York by a 9mm" and said with that sort of judging it would be difficult to get American and Caribbean boxers to come to New Zealand. But he was desperate to return, seeking a rematch where "I'll knock Joseph Parker out in six rounds". That won't happen. Williams has served his purpose, living up to his reputation for durability to provide a stern test for Parker who was pushed beyond seven rounds for the first time in his career. Parker didn't get the knockout he predicted, but the 22-year-old emerged a worthy winner, unscathed and delighted with his discipline and patience where he displayed technical attributes to secure victory rather than through his notorious power game. "My fitness was great. I'm in great shape. I showed I'm a tough guy because Sherman's solid. I learned a lot fighting Sherman and I know I'm going to improve from this fight. He gave me the rounds that I needed," Parker said. "I tried to get him with a good punch to knock him out, but he stayed tight and I'm proud to go 10 rounds. Everyone doubted I could go 10 rounds because my fights have stopped early. But I knew I could because of the work I'd done in the gym. " Williams' ball of defence was hard for Parker to penetrate and explained why he has been stopped just once in 53 fights. He also quickly negated Parker's frequent attacks with clinches to frustrate the Kiwi camp. "He's got some tricks. He's a very tricky opponent, he's been in the game a long time and he used all those tricks against me. "He thought he won the fight, I thought I won the fight, that I out-boxed him by fighting smart. He clipped me a few times, but I out-boxed him and I'm just happy with the win."

Barry made it clear he felt the judges got it right: "I thought it was a shut-out." He paid tribute to Williams. "He had a couple of moments during the fight, but what he showed was that he's a a very experienced veteran and a great survivor. There were numerous times in the fight where Joe buckled his legs, but Sherman was able to hold on and shake the cobwebs off and start again." Barry said they knew the "dirty tricks" were coming and said he felt he had to retaliate himself. "He hit Joe with a couple of shots after the bell. Look, I've been around the game a long time and Sherman is a very old, experienced veteran. I jumped into the ring and tried to get under his skin as he was trying to do with Joe. I told Joe I was just messing with Sherman." Barry was thrilled with the composure and attitude of Parker. "I thought Joe boxed really nicely. I think he put his skills on display. He was very patient and showed maturity. As a coach I was very pleased," Barry said, only lamenting Parker's hesitance to throw more body shots. "But we got 10 excellent, competitive rounds of boxing and those rounds are irreplaceable. I'm very happy with Joe's condition - he wasn't blowing at all at the end of the fight. He did some really nice work and probably against any other opponent you would have seen somebody on the canvas." Barry labelled Williams' style as that of "a survivor". "When you don't throw many punches, you are holding your hands up around your ears. The more punches you throw, the more open you are, hence Sherman's survivor style."

- Stuff

Kiwi Parker taken the distance by Williams


Joseph Parker was taken the distance for only the second time in his budding professional career, claiming an at-times frustrating - but unanimous - victory over Sherman Williams in Auckland tonight. Parker retained his WBO Oriental and PABA titles and remains undefeated after 11 fights, but the 22-year-old will be disappointed not to follow through on his promise to knockout Williams. The 42-year-old from the Bahamas, who has fought four times in the past two years with one win, has still only been stopped once in 53 fights and again lived up to his durable billing after absorbing many of Parker's best blows over 10 rounds. Kiwi heavyweight Brice Ritani-Coe was the only other fighter to go the distance with Parker last year, but being pushed past seven rounds for the first time will be valuable experience for Parker's long-term quest. The lack of a knockout wasn't through lack of effort as Parker came forward and stalked Williams throughout. The South Aucklander's dominance was reflected on all three judges' scorecards which read 90-100, 90-100, and 94-97. "I came out here to try and knockout Sherman Williams," Parker said. "He's an experienced fighter with a hard chin. Those punches usually knockout people out." Despite being on the back foot throughout - other than one threatening flurry in the sixth round - Williams was disgruntled with the result. "No disrespect but this decision is ridiculous," he claimed. "Let's do a rematch." Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, quickly shutdown Williams' suggestions. "You don't have to be a boxing expert to work out Sherman lost every round," Barry said. "Joe will learn more from the 10 rounds against Sherman than any of his other fights." In his fifth fight this year, after defeating Brian Minto, Keith Thompson and Marcelo Nascimento and now Williams, Parker will be back in the ring and attempt to improve his No 11 ranking with the WBA as the main event on December's Fight for Life in Hamilton. Initially at least, Parker was totally relaxed; a picture of calmness. On his way to the ring a smile spread constantly across his face; he stopped to acknowledge the local crowd and gave his mother a kiss. He started with a tentative first round, sitting behind his left jab and keeping a watchful Williams on the outside. The second round was much more eventful. Williams connected with his favoured overhand right but Parker began to find his range and mix up his variations. Williams didn't apply pressure and was constantly on the back-foot in survival mode. He was largely forced to resort to wild swings and frequently clenched for protection - Parker was visibly frustrated at times with the crafty tactics from the veteran. Williams had few moments of aggression but in the sixth round he countered with his overhand right and with a shake of the hips signalled he was far from done. It was then you suspected he would last the distance. While Williams didn't possess evasive footwork or movement of any description, his solid defence blocked numerous shots. Parker would liked to have connected more and will look to absorb those lessons to enhance his credentials.

- Stuff

VIDEO:Boxing: Knock out 'The Tank'

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~~As Joseph Parker and Kevin Barry put their Sherman Williams fight plan in place at their Las Vegas base several weeks ago, the New Zealand heavyweight's trainer issued him with a challenge. It was, simply, to knock out Williams, an aim that was revealed at yesterday's weigh-in by the increasingly confident Parker - and a statement that earned a swift and cutting reply from the man from the Bahamas. "Joe is a very good boxer," trainer Barry said yesterday. "It would be hard to see Sherman Williams outpoint him. That wasn't a big enough challenge for me. Obviously a win is the most important thing, but we've set pretty high goals for Joe right from the start and my challenge for him coming into this camp is 'I want to break Sherman Williams down. I want to do what only one other person has done before.'" The test will come tonight at Trusts Arena in Waitakere, where 22-year-old Parker will seek to be only the second fighter to stop the man known as "The Tank" in 52 professional bouts. The only other man to achieve the feat was Robert Davis in 1999. A wildcard element is Parker's shoulder injury, for which he has received a cortisone injection. The undefeated Parker, who will put his WBO Oriental and PABA heavyweight titles on the line, said his shoulder was pain-free and if that continues he should be too fast and skilful for the 42-year-old Williams, who was clearly ruffled by his rival's knockout prediction. "I'm actually happy that they've underestimated me and have put me in league with these bums," Williams, who mentioned Francois Botha and Brian Minto, said. "I'm looking to set the record straight and leave with those championship belts. "It gives me a bit more motivation ... We're in New Zealand, Joseph is a Kiwi, I expect this, but you need a bit of common sense and look at the background of the guys he has been fighting. "It doesn't take a scientist to figure it out. He's never fought anyone like me." Parker tipped the scales at 104.95, with the much shorter Williams at 120.4kg. The South Aucklander, who has been training with Izu Ugonoh in Las Vegas, a heavyweight who will fight on tonight's undercard, looks in good shape, but Parker's tactics could be just as important. "Out of all the fights we've had together, this would be the most detailed fight plan we've put in place, but he's implemented it very well," Barry said. "Of course the proof will be how he implements it [tonight]. He has shown me in sparring and in our skill work that he has adapted to this fight plan very smoothly. "I'm watching him evolve and develop and improve every single camp, and I think in the next 12 to 18 months we're going to have a very special fighter."

- NZ Herald

Joseph Parker sitting at 50 per cent for fight


Rising New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker is only at 50 per cent of his potential as he prepares to fight Bahamas veteran Sherman Williams in Auckland tonight. That's the honest appraisal of Parker's experienced trainer Kevin Barry who has the 22-year-old knocking on the world's top-10 door after just 18 months working together, mostly at Barry's Las Vegas base. Barry was backing up the unusually bold prediction by Parker that he would knock out Williams. Normally so reserved and happy to let his fists do the talking as they have in an unbeaten run over 10 fights with nine knockouts, Parker took everyone by surprise at yesterday's weigh-in. "I'm setting out to knock out Sherman Williams. That's the goal I have set for myself and I will do it," Parker declared. "I'm confident in the training I've done in my last camp. Kevin Barry has taught me new things and I will use them." Only one fighter - unheralded American Robert Davis back in 1999 with a fifth round TKO in Mississippi - has stopped Williams in 52 professional fights. Asked if Parker was placing unnecessary pressure on himself, Barry backed his fighter's confidence as a good sign. "There's no pressure ... there's no pressure as long as you're prepared and Joe has prepared very, very well for this fight," Barry said. "We're both very confident going in. We know it's a hard task - Sherman's a very tough guy. But it's the right test at the right time and with the growth and development of Joe, especially over the last six months, I think this is the perfect test for us." Barry, who took David Tua all the way to a world title fight and has carved a living in boxing's brashest home, then gave an exciting appraisal of Parker's current status and his potential. "As far as where we are at . g. . personally, at the moment, I think Joe is about a five out of 10 in skill levels. He has that much more room to develop and improve and as a coach that makes me very, very excited.

"At every training camp I introduce a little more to him, I ask a little more of him. It's just a continual development of skill. If you are going to move forward and be a real contender in the heavyweight division and if we are going to be fighting top-10 opponents next year then it's very important that Joe comes in prepared at a very high level of skills." Parker said he was eager to showcase those skills. "I'm going to box smartly, use my height and reach and when I see an opportunity, take it. Kevin has added a lot more weapons to what I can do. I feel like I'm a lot more [of a] complete fighter - I can work the top and the bottom and mix it up," Parker said, believing past opponents haven't used the right tactics against Williams. "I believe I have the power to knock out Sherman Williams. He likes to put the pressure on but he likes to be defensive as well. A lot of his opponents have never worked his body." Williams has plenty of body for Parker to "work". He carries his weight well but he tipped the scales at 120.4kg yesterday, considerably more than Parker who weighed in at 104.95kg and enjoys a 13cm height advantage. Ad Feedback Williams brushed off Parker's prediction, saying he'd heard a lot of "circus" talk in the last few days, even casting doubts over the legitimacy of Parker's shoulder injury from training. "I'll stay focused, I've done the work, I'm mentally and spiritually fit ... I'm ready," Williams said. Other weights for tonight's card Heavyweights: Izuagbe Ugonoh (Poland) 101.9kg v Junior Iakopo (NZ) 97.47kg. Light-heavyweights: Nik Charalampous (Auckland) 80.7kg v Andy Robinson (Waikato) 80.7kg; Sam Rapira (Taranaki) 79.05kg b Reece Papuni (Christchurch) 79.15kg. Super middleweight: Joe Blackbourn (Wellington) 79.05kg v TBC. Corporate: Dave "Brown Buttabean Letele (Auckland) 141kg v John Lomu (Auckland) 136.7kg.

- Stuff

Parker and Williams finally clash Thursday By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing Photos: Click HERE to view Gallery.

WBO #14 heavyweight Joseph Parker (10-0, 9 KOs) of New Zealand will clash with American Sherman “Tank” Williams (36-13-2, 19 KOs) over twelve rounds at the Trusts Arena, Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday with the PABA and WBO Oriental titles up for grabs. These two were scheduled to fight on the Klitschko-Leapai undercard in Germany back in April but Williams, who was one of Klitschko’s ten sparring partners, was kicked out of the Ukrainian champion’s camp and refused to take the fight. Klitschko claimed the 42-year-old showed up to training overweight while Williams accused Klitschko of being a ‘whiner’ and a ‘softie’. As the Florida-based Williams nursed his wounded pride, Parker romped to a seventh round TKO win over Brazilian Marcelo Nascimento in a hastily arranged bout. Parker’s win was so impressive that Klitschko’s camp invited the Kiwi to spar with the undefeated heavyweight champ in preparation for an upcoming fight. Parker, who stopped tough American Brian Minto in July and Keith Thompson in August, is a solid betting favorite at -1200. Williams backers can get +650.

VIDEO:Boxing: I'll knock out The Tank - Parker

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New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker has pledged to knock out Sherman Williams tomorrow night, a statement which has earned a swift reply from the man from the Bahamas known as "The Tank". Parker stated his bold aim at today's weigh-in at the Trusts Arena fight venue in Waitakere, with the 22-year-old South Aucklander tipping the scales at 104.95kg and Williams recording 120.4kg. Williams, 42, has been stopped only once in 52 professional fights. "I'm just confident in myself and what I can do in the ring," Parker said. "I believe I have the power to be the first man [since Robert Davis in 1999] to knock him out. I want to do my best and that's the goal I've set for tomorrow night." Williams, who fought a no-contest bout against Evander Holyfield in 2011 due to a cut caused by an accidental head clash in the third round, hit back by saying Parker had fought only "bums" during his 10-fight professional career. Williams was disparaging about Francois Botha and Brian Minto, both of whom Parker has knocked out, and said he was a very different prospect. Parker's WBO Oriental and PABA heavyweight titles are on the line. "I'm actually happy that they've underestimated me and have put me in league with these bums," he said. "I'm looking to set the record straight and leave with those championship belts. "It gives me a bit more motivation to press down and do what I need to do to take those titles away. We're in New Zealand, Joseph is a Kiwi, I expect this, but you need a bit of common sense and look at the background of the guys he has been fighting. It doesn't take a scientist to figure it out. He's never fought anyone like me. I feel great, I'm on my game, I've trained hard." Parker's trainer Kevin Barry denied his fighter was putting pressure on himself by saying he would stop Williams, adding that he was gaining in firepower all the time. "It's just a continuation development of skill and if you're going to move forward and be a real contender in the heavyweight division, and if we're going to be fighting top 10 opponents next year like we're talking about fighting, then it's very important Joe comes in prepared at a very high level of skill ... every training camp I introduce a little bit more. "As far as where we are at - just remember we've been together for just over 18 months - personally I think Joe at the moment is about a five out of 10 in skill level. He has that much more room to develop and improve and as a coach that makes me very excited."


Unusually bold Parker predicts knockout win


Joseph Parker is getting older and bolder, declaring he will knock out Sherman Williams in their heavyweight boxing clash in Auckland tomorrow night. The rising Kiwi, normally reserved, went out of his way to state his intentions during the weigh-in today. ''I'm setting out to knock out Sherman Williams. That's the goal I have set for myself and I will do it,'' Parker said. ''I'm confident in the training I've done in my last camp. Kevin Barry has taught me knew things and I will use them.'' Parker has nine knockouts in his unbeaten career of 10 wins and will be attempting to be just the second boxer to KO Williams who has earned a reputation for his durability over a 52-fight career dating back to 1997. American Robert Davis stopped Williams in the fifth round of their scheduled eight-rounder in Mississippi in 1999. Parker's trainer Barry backed his fighter's intentions. ''That confidence is a reflection of the way Joe has trained,'' Barry said. ''Sherman has been stopped once in 17 fights and one of the challenges I set Joe at the beginning of our last camp was that we need to prepare to break this guy down.'' Parker has a 13cm height advantage though Williams has an unusually long reach of 1.93m for his squat frame. The Bahamas fighter will also take a considerable weight advantage into the fight. He weighed 120.4kg today, considerably more than Parker who tipped the scales at 104.95kg. Williams brushed off Parker's prediction, noting his long and impressive record, and said he'd heard a lot of ''circus'' talk in the last few days, even casting doubts over the legitimacy of Parker's shoulder injury from training. ''I'll stay focused, I've done the work, I'm mentally and spiritually fit ... I'm ready.''

Weights for tomorrow's fight card Heavyweights: Joseph Parker (NZ) 104.95 kg v Sherman Williams (Bahamas) 120.4kg; Izuagbe Ugonoh (Poland) 101.9kg v Junior Iakopo (NZ) 97.47kg. Light-heavyweights: Nik Charalampous (Auckland) 80.7kg v Andy Robinson (Waikato) 80.7kg; Sam Rapira (Taranaki) 79.05kg b Reece Papuni (Christchurch) 79.15kg. Super middleweight: Joe Blackbourn (Wellington) 79.05kg v TBC. Corporate: Dave ''Brown Buttabean Letele (Auckland) 141kg v John Lomu (Auckland) 136.7kg. 

- Stuff

New Faces: Joseph Parker

Anson Wainwright

JOSEPH PARKER Vital Statistics: Age: 22 Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand. Weight class: Heavyweight Height / reach: 6-4 (193 cm)/ 76 inches (193 cm) Amateur record: 27-8 (estimated) Turned pro: 2012 Pro record: 10-0, 9 knockouts Trainer(s): Kevin Barry Manager: Dempsey Parker (father), Moses Fruean (uncle) and a former New Zealand Supreme Court Judge Bill Wilson Promoter: DUCO Promotions Twitter: @joeboxerparker

Best night of pro career: Although Parker has just 10 pro fights, he’s been moved relatively aggressively so far and already owns a win over former heavyweight beltholder Frans Botha, who was admittedly a far from his peak as an IBF titlist. However, it is his win over perennial gatekeeper Brian Minto earlier this year that Parker considers his most impressive performance to date. “My fight with Brian Minto was the best night of my pro career,” Parker told “I was able to demonstrate my ability to maintain focus, stick to a game plan and present to those watching a more mature boxer. “I am grateful for the training and support that I am receiving which sees me go from strength to strength every time I fight. I am growing more confident and building up an arsenal of techniques and skills which I feel I was able to demonstrate some of during my fight with Brian Minto.” His trainer Kevin Barry who previously worked with David Tua was also pleased with that performance. “Minto is an experienced veteran who was coming off a terrific knockout win over fellow Kiwi Shane Cameron,” said Barry. “Had Minto been allowed to fight his fight it would have been a very tough encounter for Joseph. “However, Joseph followed a perfect game plan and used his superior size (height and reach) to control the distance and keep Minto on the outside where he could have no effect. “After busting Minto up with long range punches from the outside, Joseph picked his spots to engage and when he did he over powdered his experienced foe dropping him twice to the canvas. Joseph was barely touched in seven rounds. Joe showed a lot of poise, patience and maturity in this fight."

Worst night of pro career: With nine of his 10 wins coming inside the distance it’s hard to find any faults. That said, Parker feels he let his relative lack of pro experience get the better of him when he fought fellow New Zealander Afa Tatupu a year ago. “The fight with Afa Tatupu was quite the opposite of that fight against Brian Minto,” said Parker, “and could be compared easily as both required that I fight a shorter fighter known for coming in and putting on the pressure. “During the fight with Afa Tatupu I was suckered into the pressure and engaged in a sloppy brawl at times having lost sight of the game plan. As a result, I ended the fight with a nasty gash above my left eye. It was one of the worst nights of my pro career as it showcased my inexperience and immaturity as a pro fighter, but it was also one of the best learning experiences I have had.”

Next fight: Parker makes his fourth appearance of the year on Thursday when he meets grizzled veteran Sherman Williams. The teak-tough Bahaman has only been stopped once in 52 bouts, taking the likes of Robert Helenius, Ruslan Chagaev and Manuel Charr the distance. Parker expects the bout with Williams to be a learning curve. “I have a great deal of respect for Sherman Williams,” he said. “He is a vastly experienced boxer, with a granite chin, who has only been stopped once. He takes every fight seriously. To knock him out would be an achievement but either way the fight is another test for me and an opportunity to learn more about my craft.”

Why he’s a prospect: Despite turning professional without huge numbers of amateur fights Parker was still able to win several amateur tournaments as well as score a couple of notable wins on the international circuit. He won silver at the World Youth Olympics and bronze at the World Youth Games. Parker won gold at the Arafura games, the China Open as well as Serbia Games where he beat 2012 Olympian’s Eric Pfeifer and Johan Linde. He was awarded the New Zealand Pacific Junior sportsman of the year while still in the amateur ranks in 2011. Though Parker didn’t medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, he lost on the count back system when he fought eventual gold medal winner Tariq Abdul Haqq at the quarter final stage. Barry see’s many positives in his fighter. “Joe has tremendous hand speed and I believe is as fast as any heavyweight in the world,” said Barry. “He is a student of the game and works very diligently to perfect his newly learned skills. “Joe is a great trainer who I never have to chase to train. He works out three times a day most days with Sunday off. “He has learned at a young age that there is no substitute for hard work. Joe knows that with hard work comes confidence and he is a very confident fighter. Joe loves being the star on his promotions and works to protect that role.” There are inevitable comparisons between Barry’s former client Tua and the budding Parker. “Tua and Joe are similar in that they both have Samoan parents and they both lived in Mangere, South Auckland,” said Barry. “They were both also very good amateurs and both trained in America.” The comparison’s for Barry end there. “Tua was a 5-foot-9, one-punch knockout artist, who often fell behind on points to rely on his huge power,” laments Barry. “Tua also, for the most part, struggled with weight problems and didn’t really like to train. “Joe is 6-foot-4 and in 10 fights has lost one round on the judges’ cards. His power comes from speed and technique. Joe is always in great shape and follows an impressive training regime. “Tua was a highly decorated champion who won a host of championship belts but even though he had knockout wins over four former world champions he could never capture the world title himself. “Joe in 10 professional fights has won three championship belts and is currently entering the world rankings at 14. He is young, he is exciting, he is talented and he is work in progress. I believe that Joseph Parker is the best and most exciting talent to come out of New Zealand since Tua turned pro in 1992.” So far Parker has gained valuable experience appearing on the undercard of Wladimir Klitschko’s most recent win when he beat Alex Leapai. Parker has set up training camp in Las Vegas with Barry. He’s thankful for the opportunity to work out in the boxing capital. “I have been grateful for the sparring partners that have been available to me that I would not have had access to if I had remained and trained in New Zealand,” he said. “Some of which include Bermane Stiverne, Andy Ruiz, Sergei Liakhovich, Izuagbe Ugonoh, Brice Ritani-Coe and many more.”

Why he’s a suspect: Parker turned professional at 20, which is young for a heavyweight, and though he has decent amateur credentials he didn’t stick around long enough to mature further. There are many tests the youngster needs to pass before being proclaimed the future of the division. Does he take a good shot? What’s his stamina like? What happens when he hits someone and they don’t go down? “Joe is a 22-year-old young man,” said Barry. “He is a baby in the heavyweight division and is still growing into his body. “He has improved out of sight in the last 18 months and his skill set is impressive. He has grown a lot in his media work and is improving further as his confidence grows and his personality develops. “Joe and I are always working on new faucets of his boxing game. Every day is a learning day as we work towards molding and developing his physical attributes, his mental strengths and his overall skills. We are looking to challenge and test him in most fights as we work towards building this young talented man into a champion.”

Story lines:Boxing has been a part of Parker’s life for as long as he can remember. “I don’t remember a time when boxing was not a part of our family life,” said Parker. “My father Dempsey had always loved boxing and we would always watch the boxing fights on TV as they would come up. “I think that in particular coming from a hard background living in Samoa he had always been keen on pursuits that demonstrated a person’s physical and mental strength and encouraged us to participate in sports.” Before joining the boxing gym in Papatoetoe, his father had a boxing bag and pads at home and used to train Joseph and his brother John. “It was not until I was 11 years old however that my dad took my brother John and I to the Papatoetoe boxing gym to take up boxing as a serious sport and that was pretty much where my boxing career was launched,” he said. When Parker was growing up he said he admired David Tua and Maselino Masoe who were from the same area as him. “Both David Tua and Maselino Masoe did well at top-level international professional boxing,” said Parker. “Their success motivated me to do my best at boxing with the assurance that even a young guy from South Auckland could make it to the top in boxing.” New Zealand doesn’t have a rich history of boxing and it isn’t a big sport there. Parker played Rugby League throughout his youth. “When my brother and I started at the Papatoetoe boxing gym and as I got more serious in boxing, we started to attend and participate in different tournaments, which I really enjoyed. “There is no real funding in New Zealand for boxing and so if you want to take boxing to the next level you have to find ways to raise the funds for travel, gear and other associated costs as well as trying to find ways to find quality sparring to suit your age group, weight and level. “My parents made a lot of sacrifices to fund our passion for boxing in terms of air travel, buying and cooking the appropriate foods to help with our training and buying all the gear that we needed.” Parker credits is father Dempsey as the driving force behind his success.

“The Papatoetoe boxing gym held training for boxers three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings) and my dad supplemented training by way of taking us for evening runs, sparring with members of other boxing gyms where my dad knew the owners, swimming and extra bag and pad work at home. “My mother Sala also played a big part as she also worked and helped in funding our boxing and would often take time out to counsel and motivate my brother and I.” Parker’s mother and father migrated to New Zealand from Samoa in the early 1980s, they worked hard and made sacrifices for their children affording them opportunities and a better life in New Zealand. “To this day my parents continue to work hard,” he said. “And seeing how hard my parents work to provide for our family really instilled in me the value of working hard and the importance of setting and achieving goals. “Coming from a Samoan family and being the eldest son I always had a lot of responsibilities growing up which I am grateful for. “After school usually consisted to coming home and going straight to fishing with my dad, fixing cars and accompanying him on other jobs that he had to do. At the time I didn’t appreciate the life lessons that were being taught to be, but looking back I now feel that having these responsibilities helped to build up my independence, work ethic and helped to keep me grounded.” He says growing up his Samoan heritage was important to him as well as being from New Zealand. Parker comes from a religious family. “I grew up being reminded constantly that whatever I do I am representing my family, my faith and my country,” said Parker. “Which drives me to try my best in all that I do. “I had always felt that the best experiences that I had during my amateur career was times when I saw the New Zealand flag raised and the New Zealand anthem play and being happy at how I had represented my country.” Parker missed out on appearing for the 2012 Olympics when he failed to reach the necessary stage at qualifying events. “Although I was not able to qualify for the Olympics, I was somewhat content with the fact that I had been able to beat the boxers who did go on to do well at successive tournaments and qualify for the Olympics,” he said.

Fight-by-fight record

2012 Dec. 15 – Richard Tutaki – TKO3 Nov. 9 – Terry Tuteru – KO2 July 5 – Dean Garmonsway – TKO1 2013 Oct. 10 – Afa Tatupu – TKO2 Jun. 13 – Frans Botha – TKO2 May 16 – Brice Ritani-Coe – PTS6 Feb. 28 – Dontay Pati – TKO1 2014 Aug. 9 – Keith Thompson – TKO3 July 7 – Brian Minto – RTD7 Apr. 26 – Marcelo Luiz Nascimento – TKO7

I'm not Parker's punching bag, warns Williams


He's been brought here to be just another notch in the shiny belts of Joseph Parker but Bahamas heavyweight boxer Sherman Williams insists he's better than that. With the usual sort of hype that proceeds fights, Williams declares he can - and will - beat New Zealand's rising star in west Auckland tomorrow night. The 42-year-old says he's made a living out of causing upsets and intends to do the same here. "I'm no Brian Minto, I'm no White Buffalo," Williams says, referring to a pair of aging fighters cast aside by Parker via knockout. "I'm here to win, to take those belts. I've had a great camp, I've got a great game plan and I'm feeling healthy, ready to go. "I'm going to take those titles back to the Bahamas with me and then give Joseph and Duco a reason to spread their wings and maybe come to the Caribbean." Williams has fashioned a respectable 36-win, 13-loss, 2-draw career since turning pro in 1997. He's earned a reputation for his durability, being knocked out just once. He's also earned respect for a powerful overhand right that has helped him to 19 knockout victories. Williams knows all about the nuances of fighting offshore and he's realistic enough to know he's going to have to put in an absolute performance to get the result tomorrow. While the bulk of Williams' fights have been at home or the United States, he's battled in Finland, China, Germany and Canada, losing unanimous decisions in all but one of his five fights in those foreign rings. "Look at boxing, it is what it is. We're not in the Bahamas, it speaks for itself. "Here in New Zealand it's one of those situations. I'm not going to fool myself . Joseph is a Kiwi and the Kiwis love Joseph. On Thursday I'm going to have to give him a proper beating. "I show up to fight, I come with a great attitude. I have a career that has taken me all around the world. I've fought in a lot of people's backyards. I didn't always get the decision." Parker puts his WBO Oriental and WBA Asia Pacific belts on the line tomorrow and he's risking his impressive rankings of 11 and 14 with those organisations. Williams, whose worn a few belts of his own through the years, loves this sort of situation. "I've been the underdog before. If you look at my past I perform best when I'm the underdog," he said. "The ratings mean nothing to me. Joseph is a good fighter, he's a good athlete but he never fought nobody like Sherman 'The Tank' Williams."  But Parker has his own game. It's a potent mix of speed and power that should counter Williams' aggression - as Minto and Frans Botha quickly discovered.

- Stuff

VIDEO:Sherman Williams takes aim at NZ boxing judges

By Ross McNaughton

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Sherman Williams has questioned whether Joseph Parker's shoulder injury was just a ploy to distract him ahead of Thursday night's fight. The 42-year-old heavyweight has also taken aim at New Zealand judges, saying he fears a hometown decision. In a 17-year professional career, Williams has seen many of boxing's dirty tricks and believes he's witnessed another this week. "For a camp to come out and proclaim to the whole town that they've got a shoulder injury, it's total rubbish," says Williams. "It's either one of two things: it's creating an excuse when they lose the fight, or it's a distraction." The shoulder is no longer a distraction for team Parker. The 22-year-old says he's back to full fitness after yesterday's injection and says Williams will be the one copping a jab come fight night. "That's my weapon and that's my key punch to set everything up," says Parker. "I'm going to use the jab a lot to keep Sherman away." Williams has only been stopped once in 52 fights. Veteran commentator Bob Sheridan believes Parker will have to go the distance for the first time in his career. "I think it's going to be next to impossible for Joseph to knock him out, but what he has to do is win the fight. Whether or not he can knock him out or not is a different kettle of fish." The 42-year-old West Indian has no doubts about his ability to win, but isn't keen to leave it to the scorecards. "We're in New Zealand, Joseph is a Kiwi, the judges are all Kiwis – they might be sided," he says. Parker says it's important to relax mentally ahead of a fight, with one of Justin Timberlake's Auckland concerts proving ideal inspiration. "I'm definitely bringing sexy back," says Parker.

-3 News

VIDEO:Up Now 'Tank' taking aim at Parker's shoulder (1:47)

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Parker into crucial time of a promising career


New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker is entering a dangerous phase in his rapidly blossoming career. That's the view of veteran commentator Colonel Bob Sheridan. The flamboyant American is in New Zealand to call Parker's fight with Sherman Williams on Thursday night. Sheridan, who has been ringside for several of Williams' 52 fights, is adamant that the 42-year-old from the Bahamas represents a ''very dangerous opponent'' for Parker. But if he can negotiate Williams, things will then get very interesting for Parker. That's because the 22-year-old has come so far, so fast with the latest reward for his rapid development a No 11 ranking with the WBA to go with his No 14 position with the WBO. It's a risk-reward scenario now that Sheridan feels is fascinating as Parker's handlers try to plot a way forward. ''Joseph Parker is going to have to start fighting some guys in the top 10 and that's really dangerous for him,'' said Sheridan who has broadcasted over 10,000 fights including more than 900 world title fights since the late 1960s. But he warned against looking too far ahead and certainly felt ''Tank'' Williams, who has been knocked out just once and secured 36 wins around the world, shouldn't be taken lightly. ''The Tank has been in with some class fighters and never taken a beating. ''This guy has been down the road and he's tough. He throws booming overhead shots and I'm sure he will try to get to that shoulder,'' Sheridan said of Williams targeting the left shoulder of Parker that has been causing him problems over the last few days.'' Sheridan said Williams had made a living out of being an underdog and fighting in far-flung destinations. It was a situation he revelled in. He also took a liking to ''roughing up'' opponents with an in their face style that was highlighted by his 2012 clash with heavyweight legend Evander Holyfield. The WBF title fight had to be stopped in the third round because of Holyfield's left eye being cut from a clash of heads. Williams said he was coming off a ''great training camp'' and was itching to finally get in the ring with Parker after their earlier fight in May didn't eventuate. ''I've been to New Zealand twice for promotional tours but I'm not here for a holiday now,'' Williams smiled. ''I here to win, I'll give him a proper beating.'' Parker said he was feeling 100 per cent after his should scare. "Medical clearance and his own belief in his recovery had given him the confidence that the shoulder would be fine for Thursday night. ''I've treated it, looked after it ... I'm ready to go,'' Parker said.

- Stuff

VIDEO:Boxing: Parker rising to top of world By

Daniel Richardson

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Joseph Parker's rise to the top 10 of the WBA's rankings could be complete by the year's end. The promising Kiwi heavyweight boxer is now billed at No11 by the WBA and No14 by the WBO and he will fight twice more before 2014 ends. His next bout is against Sherman "The Tank" Williams in West Auckland on Thursday night. Given boxing's highly political landscape, Parker's handlers, Duco, may face greater challenges in the coming years to book meaningful fights for him until he can ascend to "mandatory challenger" status. Trainer Kevin Barry said the 22-year-old's latest jump in the WBA rankings reflected his growing reputation. "It's really exciting for our promoters. It gives them a little bit more strength when they're trying to put Joseph in the ring with world-ranked fighters. "I can see us being ranked in the top 10 by the end of the year," Barry said. Parker had a cortisone injection yesterday to treat a minor shoulder problem but the South Aucklander was passed fit to meet Williams at the Trusts Arena. Barry said the ongoing ailment wouldn't rule him out of headlining December's Fight for Life. No opponent has been confirmed for that but Barry said Parker would be busy in coming months. "There are fights out there for us ... exciting fights, ranked fights. But the politics are becoming more and more apparent." But before the 10-0 Parker can worry about 2015, he will need to beat 42-year-old Williams (36-13-2). Parker's PABA and WBO Oriental heavyweight belts will be on the line against Williams.


VIDEO:Fears eased over Joseph Parker's injury

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New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker is set to be cleared to fight Sherman Williams after shaking off a shoulder injury. Parker had an assessment with trainer Kevin Barry this morning and still felt some discomfort in his left shoulder after having it in a sling over the weekend. The 22-year-old met with renowned sports doctor John Mayhew this morning who administered an injection. Mayhew believes Parker may experience some discomfort for the rest of the day but should be okay come the fight on Thursday. He suffered a similar injury in the build up to his win over American Brian Minto back in July, but didn’t require surgery. Parker and Williams square off on Thursday night at The Trusts Arena in West Auckland.

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VIDEO:Parker declared fit to fight (0:34)

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VIDEO:Boxing: Parker passed fit to meet Williams

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 Kiwi heavyweight prospect Joseph Parker has been declared fit to meet Sherman Williams in West Auckland on Thursday. Parker had experienced pain in his left shoulder recently but following a meeting with Dr John Mayhew today, the 22-year-old was given a cortisone shot and then trained this afternoon. "He's got a minor impingement problem in his shoulder," Mayhew said. "He's had problems with this before. We've given him a corticosteroid injection with local anaesthetic and that should settle the problem down." Parker (10-0) will put his WBO Oriental and PABA heavyweight titles on the line against the 42-year-old Williams (36-13-2) who is known for his durability in the ring. Williams, of the Bahamas, has never been knocked out in his career with his only TKO loss coming via a burst eardrum that forced him to retire during a bout against American Robert Davis in 1999. Parker's trainer Kevin Barry said his charge was confident after having the shot administered. "It was more for Joseph's mental state of mind than anything else," Barry said. "I didn't want him to be worried about 'was it going to catch, was it going to cause him problems in his fight'. So that's why we got the cortisone shot." Barry also liked what he saw from Parker during this afternoon's fitness test. "We've just finished a boxing workout where he did three rounds of shadow boxing, three rounds of skipping and four rounds on the pads where he punched at full speed and full power and there was no pain at all, so I was pretty happy about that." Given Parker has a snappy left jab, Barry needed the South Aucklander to feel comfortable with his shoulder, and his jab should be a decent weapon against Williams. Parker is expected to headline December's Fight for Life in Hamilton and Barry said Parker's shoulder injury wouldn't keep him off that card.

Joseph Parker gets double boost before fight


New Zealand boxer Joseph Parker got a double dose of good news today ahead of Thursday night's clash with Sherman Williams - his injured shoulder was cleared to fight and he got a significant boost up the world heavyweight rankings. Parker passed a stern fitness test in Auckland today after visiting Dr John Mayhew, who reassessed the injury following Friday's consultation after Parker hurt the left shoulder in training. Dr Mayhew inserted a cortisone injection into the problem area and declared he was comfortable with his condition. That was confirmed in the mind of the boxer and his trainer Kevin Barry when Parker got through four rounds of heavy pad work and weight-bearing exercise on top of sparring three rounds and skipping three rounds. Then came the injection of faith from the WBA organisation who updated their rankings today and lifted Parker from No.15 to No.11 in a division headed by world champion Wladirmir Klitschko. Parker is the WBA's Pan Asian heavyweight champion. He is also ranked at No.14 by the WBO as their Oriental champion. He puts both belts on the line against Williams. Barry said the rankings rise was a reflection of the work Parker had put in and the growing respect he was earning. It was a boost for Parker's promotional team at Duco Events as they look to secure more meaningful fights in their drive to get the 22-year-old into the top 10. He is unbeaten over 10 fights since turning pro in mid-2012, winning nine of them by knockouts. "There are a lot of guys ahead of Joe who Joe is a lot better than. There's also some guys further down the rankings who would be difficult styles for us. So, as the coach, I don't put that much emphasis on the rankings," Barry said. "But it is very good for the team at Duco ... the higher we move in the rankings it improves our chances of trying to get Joe into fights with other ranked guys." Spreading Parker's rankings across the other organisations in the sport's alphabet soup of power is Duco's next challenge. They are desperate to get him ranked by the WBC, the one organisation freed of the Klitschko dominance after brother Vitali's retirement. The WBC now have Canadian Bermane Stiverne as their champion, a fighter Parker has sparred with and looked more than comfortable against during his Las Vegas camps. That appears the easiest route to a genuine belt. For now, taking care of Williams is the focus with Barry demanding an impressive victory. 

Barry said the untimely shoulder injury hadn't affected their build-up work other than remove Parker's running work on Saturday when he had his left arm in a sling. They remained on schedule and the game plan hadn't altered. Parker was in a good mindset after proving himself today. "Joe was at full power and had no pain at all," Barry said of the fitness test. "I liked what I saw and was feeling. Joe hit really, really hard today. I told him not to hold back. I needed to be 100 per cent sure and so did he. He's feeling really good about himself, he's ready to go." The injury isn't new. Parker had the same problem before his last win in New Zealand in July when he shrugged it off to knock out Brian Minto. "We've been through this before. This is something we have been taking care of the last 12 months, we've had a few little niggles with it from time to time," Barry said. "We have done a lot of strength work on it but occasionally the tendon inflames and it pinches and catches and causes a little bit of pain as we saw the other day." Dr Mayhew "was adamant" no surgery was required.

- Stuff

VIDEO:Shoulder won't stop me - Parker (0:26)

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VIDEO:Parker suffers injury scare six days out from fight

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 New Zealand boxing star Joseph Parker has been diagnosed with bursitis of the shoulder after pulling out of training and has been ordered to wear a sling just six days out from his fight with Sherman Williams. Parker ended up on the floor with a bag of ice on his left shoulder following pad work with trainer Kevin Barry on Friday after the reoccurrence of a shoulder injury he has had for some time. The 22-year-old is now on a course of anti-inflammatories and has been ordered to wear a sling over the weekend. The injury isn't expected to put the fight in doubt, but Parker's team aren't taking any risks. "The next 48 hours are a very important time and I'm hoping it will settle down otherwise we may have to consider an injection," said Barry. "Six days [to go] is a bunch of time. But no, we won't take any risks. [Williams] is an ultra-durable, tough veteran. This fight was picked because of that. I want Joe's jab to be at its best." "Joseph now needs to focus all his energy in getting fit." Parker said he's upset with the setback. "I've trained too hard for this fight for a setback now." Parker has had issues with the same shoulder in the past - similar to a pinched nerve - but hasn't required surgery after having it monitored by renowned sports doctor John Mayhew for the past six months. "In certain positions it impinges or catches and we will be reviewing it closely over the next 48 hours," Mayhew said. "It usually takes a couple of days to come right. Let's not jump to conclusions. But it's not ideal ... it's put a bit of a dampener on the workout." Parker fights Williams in west Auckland on October 16.

-3 News

The Diary: Parker and SBW friends again

They are known as two of the most gentlemanly men in sports, but heavyweight boxing champion Joseph Parker, 22, and multi-talented athlete Sonny Bill Williams, 29, put their long-simmering feud to one side after the Counties Manukau game on Wednesday and patched up their bromance. The bad blood is gone. The former friends fell out last year after Williams turned down a million-dollar offer from Parker's reps to put his New Zealand heavyweight boxing belt on the line and take Parker on in the ring. Boxing trash talk ensued between both camps, and Parker reckoned Williams didn't take boxing seriously enough. Cue the defriending. SBW stopped following Parker on Twitter. "We were good friends, really good friends," Parker told The Diary. "We helped each other out in preparation for our fights. He would help me with my sparring, and vice versa. We would send each other good luck messages before our fights. Our families knew each other, we were tight. "But when Duco [Parker's management] called him out, I think Sonny felt disrespected. And when I said I didn't think you could be a part-time boxer, he was upset. He dropped me on social media." Time heals, as they say, and SBW put out the white flag. Parker: "I sent a text to his cousin Tim Nanai-Williams, who's in the Chiefs, and he told me to come to the game on Wednesday. 'Sonny wants to see you,' he said." "So we caught up in the changing room after his game on Wednesday, and it was sweet. It was like old mates again. He said, 'Keep in touch and give my love to your dad.' "Sonny is one of the best athletes and he does well in whatever he puts his mind to. If he goes back into the ring, I wish him all the best." Will Parker go a few rounds with him? "Nah, I don't think that will ever happen." For now, Parker is gearing up for the highly anticipated bout on October 16 against Sherman "The Tank" Williams at Trusts Arena. While "The Tank" has gone to ground, only seen at his hotel, The Quest in Parnell, and Boxing Alley, Parker, camped at the Pullman Hotel, is relaxed and planning his social diary. "I've been invited to meet Justin Timberlake next week and I'm going to his concert."

Boxing: Parker picks up training injury

New Zealand Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker has sought the advice of renowned sports doctor John Mayhew after feeling a sharp pain in his left shoulder following a routine pad session today. Doctor Mayhew, who has seen Parker three times previously, has diagnosed it as "bursitis of the shoulder". "This is the reoccurrence of a shoulder problem Joseph has had for some time" said Doctor Mayhew. "In certain positions it impinges or catches and we will be reviewing it closely over the next 48 hours." Trainer Kevin Barry is cautious optimistic. "This is something that has been monitored by Doctor Mayhew for six months," said Barry. "Nothing scan wise we do right now will have any influence on whether Joseph fights next Thursday. The 22 year old is now on a course of anti-inflammatories and has been ordered to wear a sling over the weekend. "The next 48 hours are a very important time and I'm hoping it will settle down otherwise we may have to consider an injection," said Barry. "Joseph now needs to focus all his energy in getting fit." The injury occurred as Parker, and Barry, were in the final preparations for his fight against Sherman 'the Tank' Williams next Thursday October 16. The 22 year old says he's upset at the setback. "I've trained too hard for this fight for a setback now." Parker is currently ranked 14 in the WBO and 15 in the WBA. He is scheduled to defend his WBO Oriental and WBA PABA Heavyweight Titles at Trusts Arena on October 16.

Joseph Parker has injury setback

Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker has suffered an injury setback in his preparations for next week's fight. The 22-year-old has been diagnosed with "bursitis of the shoulder". Parker experienced pain in his left shoulder while training this morning and sought the advice of renowned sports doctor John Mayhew. "This is the reoccurrence of a shoulder problem Joseph has had for some time" said Doctor Mayhew. Parkers is scheduled to fight Sherman "the Tank" Williams in West Auckland on Thursday night. The injury means Parker will wear a sling over the weekend and will be review closely over the next 48 hours. "I've trained too hard for this fight for a setback now," said Parker. His trainer Kevin Barry is trying to stay optimistic. Advertisement "The next 48 hours are a very important time and I'm hoping it will settle down otherwise we may have to consider an injection," said Barry.

-ONE News

VIDEO:Parker's fight on schedule despite injury scare


(Please click above title link to watch video)

Joseph Parker's fight remains on schedule despite an alarming injury to the New Zealand heavyweight boxer in training today. Parker is due to fight Sherman Williams of the Bahamas in west Auckland on Thursday night. Parker was into the fourth round of pad work with trainer Kevin Barry when he pulled out gripping his shoulder in obvious pain. Parker lay on the floor as ice was administered to the shoulder. He was whisked away and was taken to have the injury assessed by Dr John Mayhew, the top sports doctor who has worked with the All Blacks and is the current Warriors physician. Dr Mayhew diagnosed the problem as bursitis of the shoulder. "In certain positions it impinges or catches," Dr Mayhew said. "This is a recurrence of a shoulder problem that he [Parker] has previously had and we will be reviewing it closely over the next few days. We hope it will settle down." Promoters Duco Events said there was no suggestion at this stage that the fight will be cancelled. But Barry and Parker's management team emphasised that no risks would be taken. Parker is in the middle of a busy schedule that has him backing up this bout with a Fight For Life headline act in Hamilton in December against an opponent yet to be announced. It was revealed today that Parker suffered the same injury in the build up to him impressive knockout win over American Brian Minto in early July, his last fight in New Zealand. He has avoided surgery but a recurrence is clearly concerning."We'll let it settle down and see how it goes," a worried Barry said. "Joe has had it before ... but it's not been serious enough to get an operation. "It usually takes a couple of days to come right. Let's not jump to conclusions. But it's not ideal ... it's put a bit of a dampener on the workout." With Parker on an unbeaten streak of 10 wins and making big moves, there will be obvious caution, especially against a seasoned campaigner like Williams, the 42-year-old from the Bahamas who has 52 pro fights to his name. "Six days [to go] is a bunch of time. But no, we won't take any risks.

This guy [Williams] is an ultra durable, tough veteran. This fight was picked because of that. I want Joe's jab to be at it's best." The left shoulder powers Parker's jab which has won praise from some of the bets in the business, including former world champion Larry Holmes who Parker met on his recent trip to the United States. Barry was left shaking his head because Parker had been showing everything he wanted as he tapers down his training in Auckland on the back of a solid camp in Las Vegas. "He was very sharp today. I've been very pleased with the buildup," Barry said. Parker is now on a course of anti-inflammatories and has been ordered to wear a sling over the weekend. "Joseph now needs to focus all his energy in getting fit," Barry added. "The next 48 hours are a very important time and I'm hoping it will settle down otherwise we may have to consider an injection. Ad Feedback Naturally Parker is disappointed at the late setback. "I've trained too hard for this fight for a setback now," he said.

- Stuff

Barry expecting something special from Parker


Coach Kevin Barry is expecting ''a terrific performance'' from Joseph Parker next week, declaring the Kiwi heavyweight boxer has taken his training regime to new levels. Parker and Barry have arrived from their Las Vegas base and are tapering off the 22-year-old's work for next Thursday night's clash with Bahamas battler Sherman Williams in west Auckland. It's Parker's first home fight since knocking out Brian Minto in early July and a subsequent demolition of another American, Keith Thompson, in the United States has taken his unbeaten record to 10 victories (nine by KO). ''I'm really happy with where Joe is at the moment. Before we left he was really on fire in the gym. I'm expecting a terrific performance ... Joe is jumping out of his skin.,'' Barry declared as they completed a workout in Auckland. ''We've had a great camp. Joe's just getting better and better and he's showing me more every time we go into training camp. ''He's trained hard, he's well-conditioned, he's getting bigger and stronger.'' Barry said the pay-off for Parker's discipline with his fitness work was an ability to keep chipping away at increasing his fighting skills. ''They're going up a notch every time. I'm just continually developing and improving on his skill levels,'' Barry said. ''These skills are going to be paramount as we continue to move up the rankings and look to fight a top 10 guy next year.'' Barry sees the durable Williams as an ideal opponent for this stage of Parker's career. The two had been lined up to fight in Germany in May but that fell over when Williams was dismissed from world champion Wladimir Klitschko's training camp. The 42-year-old Williams is delighted to finally have a crack at Parker and the feeling is mutual in the Kiwi camp. ''We have put a guy like Sherman in front of Joe because he's the sort of guy that will continue to test Joe's character and discipline,'' Barry said of Williams who has fashioned a worthy professional record of 36 wins, 2 draws and 13 losses since 1997. The relevant statistic is that he has only been knocked out once. ''I want these sort of challenges because they will produce continued improvement in Joe. I expect Sherman to put him under pressure. ''It's very, very important that he stays focused, especially with Sherman who is an experienced guy and a very durable guy. ''It's important that Joe shows the maturity and discipline to take charge of this fight and out-box Sherman.''


 In camp with Joseph Parker

By Bryce Wilson

Eastside Boxing gets an invite into Joseph Parker’s training camp as he prepares for his October 16th fight with Sherman ‘The Tank’ Williams. Driving through this low key industrial estate in East Auckland there are no neon signs or flashing lights that scream out boxing gym and that is just how Coach Kevin Barry prefers it. Like a mirage in the desert, housed out the back of contracting company is a small purpose-built boxing gym built by the company’s owner and personal friend of Barry. It is a place free of distractions and allows Team Parker to get down to the business of work uninterrupted. However if anyone were to walk through the doors the exertion being put in is obvious. You can see it as the young fighters are put through their paces watched intently by their trainer. You can hear it with every thud of the heavy bag or crack of the mitts and you can definitely sense it as the air vibrates around them. Although it has been somewhat trivialised by Floyd Mayweather in recent All Access episodes, where the boxing gym is made to seem more like a hangout spot akin to a recreational club, it would be foolish to assume that this is the case. Floyd is known to put in longer and more arduous amounts of training than any fighter in the business, but like a world class illusionist he is at pains not show you that part, not to show you how me actually performs the trick lest it ruin the illusion. We are lucky enough to have been invited by Joseph Parker and trainer Kevin Barry to come and witness the last stretch of Joseph’s training routine as he leads into his fight with Sherman ‘The Tank’ Williams on October 16th. And also of course to chat to the fighter himself, to capture a sense of what goes through a fighter’s mind as they wind down camp in preparation for the fight proper. However just before training starts in earnest there is time for a practical joke. Coach Barry instructs Joseph and chief sparring partner Izu Ugonoh to don black plastic bin liners over their heads for a drill Kevin refers to as ‘sweat boxing.’ Knowing Kevin studied under the late great George Benton I wonder if this is some long forgotten old old school technique that was passed down to him. I even wonder if he is experiencing his own Karate Kid, ‘Mr Mayagi moment’ as he barks out instructions to the fighters such as “listen to the footwork” as they punch away in darkness.

Perplexed and blank faced I am on the verge of referring to him as Sensei Barry when both fighters remove the bin liner’s from their heads and dissolve into laughter, as I realize I am on the receiving end of a pretty funny practical joke. It seems ‘sweat boxing’ won’t be taking off anytime soon. And this is the predominant mood in the gym. The team around Parker look relaxed the vibe one of quiet confidence. Yes technically fights are won in the ring, but we also know they are won in the preparation put in beforehand, that the physical and mental aspects have been honed through countless hours in the more secular and solitary environment of the gym. When one thinks of the preparation a fighter endures a couple of quotes can’t help but pop into my head. One comes from the great Bruce Lee, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” And perhaps surprisingly the second quote comes from none other than the Fresh Prince of Bel Air himself, Will Smith. “Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” One gets the sense looking around this most primitive of work places that this a happy team because they know they’ve put in the work. I ask Joseph how camp has gone for this fight and how hard is it to push yourself when there is only you and your trainer for company. No bright lights, no cheering audience. What goes through a fighter’s mind as the trainer is pushing them harder for another set of drills or another round of sparring that the fighter doesn’t think he has in him? The answer is only one word yet an illuminating one. “Family.” As we continue to chat he does expand a little further about the challenges of training to fight but family and home are the predominant themes that punctuate our conversation. One gets the feeling talking to him that there is a bigger picture in play. His upcoming opponent Sherman Williams is one of boxing’s wittier and more irascible characters. He was originally slated to fight Parker in April of this year on the undercard Wladimir Klitschko/Alex Leapai title fight. Williams at the time was one of Klitschko’s chief sparring partners and was thrown out of camp by Team Klitschko for allegedly turning up out of shape. However it wouldn’t be boxing if Williams didn’t have his own conflicting narrative for the events that unfolded, claiming his dismissal was due to over performing and giving the champ too many hard rounds.

Either way as collateral damage Williams walked away from the fight with Parker, prickly at the treatment from Klitschko and with a chip on his shoulder. Having the opportunity for a second crack at Parker and more time to prepare he has vowed not to waste it and likes his chances as a live underdog to tip over the young contender and spoil the storyline. The obvious goal for Parker and his team is the win, but what else? Clearly in such a short career the other primary objective will be to also get in some rounds, something Parker’s camp hoped to achieve in the past when fighting durable veterans Frans Botha and Brian Minto. Botha only lasted two rounds while Minto although going seven hardly fired a shot in protest, so dominant was Parker’s performance. This time around Parker will be looking for someone who fights back, who will test his will and resolve as well as his fitness and stamina. Someone who can extract a professional performance from a professional athlete. Williams is nothing if not durable, a fighter who has only been stopped once (in 1999) in a 51 fight career that stretches all the way back to 1997. Having fought and sparred with fighters that possess all of the size and power that Parker does I ask Coach Barry what is the one thing that Parker brings that Williams won’t have seen in his long career. He points out the obvious, Parker’s speed but also adds, without wanting to give too much away that “we hope to show the old a dog a few tricks that he hasn’t seen yet.” Aside from those few tricks though, looking at Parker hit the bags the speed is an attribute amongst many attributes that clearly shines through. As we know some things in boxing can be trained and cultivated: Footwork, endurance, punch selection and even to some extent power. However speed is God given. Like the lone gunslinger standing after a shootout at the OK Corral, speed is all about whose hands move the quickest. As any fighter will tell you the punch that hurts the most is the one they don’t see coming. Taking one last look around the gym before the session winds up I see the excitement and anticipation of a team on the homeward stretch. The hundreds of hours of hard work have been done, the lonely miles now exchanged for the familiar surroundings of home; home turf where the mood is light but the focus remains intense. This is the fun part where all of the arduous training pays off, where a young fighter gets to showcase his burgeoning skills, his developing craft in front of a partisan crowd. And yet somewhere across town an older wily veteran plots one last upset with equal intensity, dreaming of taking a young fighter into deep waters and dark places with career changing punches, fighting in a division where one well timed shot can instantly change the trajectory of a decade’s long career and where redemption is only ever a millisecond away.

Let the hostilities commence.

Coach Kevin Barry discusses the prospects of his exciting young protégé Joseph Parker

By Bryce Wilson

Kevin Barry, a name most familiar to boxing fans as the former long time manager and trainer of David Tua, took time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with us about another exciting heavyweight to come out of New Zealand in Joseph Parker. Parker will be facing the very durable (and former Wladimir Klitschko sparring partner) Sherman ‘The Tank’ Williams at the Trusts Arena in Auckland New Zealand on October the 16th in what will only be his 11th pro fight. Check out what Kevin’s thoughts are on the potential of Parker, possible future opponents for him and the trainer that most influenced him during his coaching career. ESB: Hi Kevin, Thanks for making time to talk to us today. Joseph Parker is the 2nd prominent Kiwi heavyweight you’ve trained. I understand that you were a little reluctant to get involved, but what was it about Joseph either in the ring or his demeanour outside of it that convinced you take another shot at it? KB: The overwhelming thing I was most impressed with from the get-go was just how fast he was and I’ve said this in a number of interviews, I believe Joseph is the fastest of any heavyweight in the world. There was a lot of people back in April of 2013 who were impressed with his speed but they all said ‘Joseph Parker, he can’t punch he can’t hurt people.’ Well as you know since we’ve worked together he’s knocked everybody out. Nobody talks about Joseph Parker now about not having any power. That is the biggest thing we’ve worked on. The other thing that’s really impressed me about him is that he is a first class young man. He’s prepared to work so hard to achieve the goal. ESB: A noticeable difference was also his body shape that changed very rapidly under you. A lot of that softer mass turned into muscle very quickly. Do you guys have a specific diet or has it just come from working day in and day out as a professional athlete. KB: He’s on a very clean diet. The thing about Joe and he’ll be the first to tell you, is that he never knew how to eat properly. At some of his international tournaments in the amateurs he was out eating hamburgers before his fight! There’s a lot of things such as clean eating that he’s never been exposed to, that’s why we’re seeing the change in his body shape. That and he trains very very hard.

ESB: I know both Joseph and yourself have mentioned Lennox Lewis as a guy you would like to model his style on and you also had the privilege of catching up with Larry Holmes recently. Both of them had great jabs which you seem to be developing with Joseph. His jab seems so impressive, do you think Joseph is even aware of how much damage he can cause with the jab? Or is it something you have to keep reminding him of? KB: Oh no, Joe knows. One of my training philosophies is the jab is never a jab, the jab is a weapon. He understands that for him to have success in fights it starts and finishes with the jab. One of the biggest compliments that was made to me was when we spent three of four hours with Larry Holmes. The first thing he said to me was this “kid can really fight, he’s got a helluva jab.” I believe Larry Holmes had the best jab in boxing and for him to say that was a helluva of compliment. ESB: The Nascimento fight I thought was easily the toughest fight he has had so far and it forced him to answer some questions. He took a couple of really decent shots in the 6th and took them well. I guess in one way you don’t like to see your fighter get hit but it must also be reassuring to find out that he has a decent chin? KB: We’ve sparred some very very good fighters. We’ve done 40 rounds with Stiverne before he won the title and we all know Stiverne’s a good puncher. I’ve never seen Joe hurt in sparring. What actually happened (in the Nascimento fight) was he turned away from a right hand and he ended up catching the full glove of that right hand and it hit his ear and it burst his eardrum which affected his equilibrium. But he went back to the corner and regrouped well. ESB: Sherman Williams is another potential ‘banana skin’ type opponent. A very durable guy who has fought a lot of guys down the years and has only been stopped once. Is this a fight that makes you nervous in any way? KB: I’m very confident going into the Sherman Williams fight. He’s a durable guy, y’know Joe’s on a fast track and we need to be able to take care of guys like Sherman Williams. ESB: Without giving too much away are there any things specifically that you would like to work on with Joseph for this fight? KB: It’s very important for us that we go into every fight with a good game plan. I know what Sherman’s strengths are and I know what Joseph’s strengths are, we just need to make sure that we have our game plan in place to take care of anything he can show us on the day. ESB: Should you beat Williams do you have any particular timetable in mind for when you’d like to see Joseph fighting for a title or are you still taking it very much on a fight-by-fight basis? KB: I never go any further than one fight at a time. We know if everything goes right for this fight on October 16th we’re fighting again on December 6th. Our whole focus everyday in the gym right now is on Sherman Williams. That’s all we’re looking at. I think we are ready to fight guys in the top ten at some stage next year. Which is very very fast for a young guy but I believe personally that he ready for it. ESB: Obviously with Vitali Klitschko now entering politics and Wladimir getting that much older the heavyweight division looks like it could potentially be thrown wide open again very soon. The two obvious names other than Joseph’s look to be Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. As a trainer are you keeping tabs on those two, or will you have a closer look at them if a potential fight looms? KB: I keep tabs on all the fighters. We’ll know a lot more about Deontay Wilder after the Bermane Stiverne fight. Anthony Joshua he’s a work in progress. I can see him and Joseph fighting each other at some stage when it actually means something. ESB: In modern boxing, trainers are becoming quite well known in their own right. Are there any other current trainers out there that you specifically admire and do trainers ever swap tips? KB: I think every trainer has their own way of coaching. People will tell you at various stages of their development they were guided and influenced by a particular style of coach. I give a lot of the respect to the late George Benton who I learned a lot off and who I think was one of the great trainers. We thank Kevin for giving up his time and sharing his thoughts and look forward to catching up with him again as Joseph’s career progresses. Check out part two of our interview where we catch up with Joseph Parker to get his thoughts on the upcoming fight with Sherman Williams.

Interview: Explosive Joseph Parker meets a Tank

By Bryce Wilson

At just 22 Kiwi Joseph Parker is one of the most exciting heavyweight prospects to come along in some time. Now living and training out of Las Vegas with Kevin Barry, Parker is set to face the very durable Sherman ‘The Tank’ Williams at the Trusts Arena in Auckland New Zealand on October the 16th in what will only be his 11th pro fight. We caught up with Joseph to get his thoughts amongst other things on the fight, how he first got into the sport and the fighters he grew up most admiring. ESB: Hi Joseph, thanks for making time for us today. What was it that first made you lace up the gloves? Was it your dad that got you in to the sport? How old were you when you started fighting in the amateur ranks and did you have immediate success? JP: Yeah my dad had an interest in boxing so I came up quite young, probably around the age of about 4 or 5. Then I had my first fight when I was 12 years old. It went well, I got the win and I sort of carried on from there. I did a lot of travelling and represented New Zealand from about 16 onwards. ESB: At what age did you feel like you could make this your chosen profession? JP: At the age of 18 when I attended the Commonwealth Games and travelled to the world games and I just started winning some medals and then I thought I could turn it into a career. Then I made the decision to turn pro and had a great team supporting me from the start. My parents always supported my boxing. ESB: You’ve mentioned in the past admiring Lennox Lewis and Larry Holmes. Who was your favourite fighter growing up besides those two that you enjoy watching? JP: I watched a lot of Lennox Lewis’ fights just because of the way I knew that I had good height on me, just the way he used his height and his jab. I also liked watching Roy Jones Junior. ESB: Since training with Kevin there has been a noticeable increase in your power. How difficult is it to be patient in a fight and not fall in love with the power you now have? JP: Before training with Kevin I was making a lot of mistakes, still fighting like an amateur in my first 3 or 4 professional fights.

When I joined with Kevin he taught me how to throw my punches, how to pick my shots a lot better. We did a lot of different drills to help with my power and speed. He taught me to be patient and not waste my shots. We do a lot of training both mentally and physically. I know a lot more about the sport now, not just the physical side but the mental side as well. ESB: You fought Marcelo Nascimento on the Wladimir Klitschko/Leapai undercard. How did it feel to fight in such of a large crowd in Germany? How inspirational was it to be around a champion like Wladimir during that event and what did you learn from him? JP: It was a great experience for me. Still being at the beginning stages of my career it was great opportunity and I was keen to be there in Germany and to fight on that card. I was able to meet him (Klitschko) and he was a great guy. I watched his fight and he looks like he trains the house down for his fights, so he’s someone I look up to as well. ESB: We saw some blood in a couple of fights most notably a really ugly cut from a head butt in the King Afa Tatupu fight. Some fighters tend to freeze when they get cut but it didn’t seem to bother you? JP: I got a big cut in that fight, he head butted me and I came back to the corner and Kevin told me it was a real big cut. I was a little worried that they were going to stop the fight but Kevin told me to go out there and be patient and look for the chance to finish the fight which we did in the 2nd round. ESB: Have you seen much tape on Sherman Williams and what do you think he brings to the table? JP: Before every fight me and Kevin sit down and look at the footage of the opponent and look for the positives they bring to the ring and the weaknesses they have. I know Sherman’s going to come prepared, he’s had a lot more time to prepare himself. I know he’s durable so he’s going to give us a lot of rounds. We’re going to try and break him down. ESB: Obviously in New Zealand the public are beginning to become really aware of you and support you in a big way. I know you have attended some big fights in America recently such as Mayweather/Maidana over the weekend. Are you also starting to get noticed by more fight fans? JP: Mainly more in New Zealand, it’s still coming up a little more slowly in America. ESB: Saying that I saw a photo that you posted on your Twitter last weekend of you with Oscar de la Hoya. Yeah he noticed us and came over and took a photo with us and that was a great experience meeting someone like Oscar who was such a big time fighter. ESB: Thanks for talking to us Joe and we look forward to catching up again soon. JP: No problem, thank you

Parker a hit with hospice


In an unprecedented move, a major charity event will ditch its Auckland digs and head to Hamilton. The KFC Fight for Life will bring 14 boxers to Claudelands Arena including New Zealand heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, with the hope to raise more than $100,000 for Hospice Waikato. The charitable organisation has provided care services to people with advanced, progressive and life-limiting diseases in the Waikato and King Country for nearly 25 years. Chief executive Craig Tamblyn said the organisation was thrilled to be part of this year's event. "It is an absolute honour but also really humbling to have Hospice Waikato recognised for the crucial services it provides in our communities," he said. Duco Events founder David Higgins said the move was an easy decision after his company had hosted several sold-out boxing events in the arena. "We love the venue, because it has that amphitheatre shape it is quite intimate and every seat has a great view." Higgins said historically Hamilton has shown it is a great supporter of the sport and when events are held locally people "get behind it". Parker, who is in Las Vegas training for an upcoming fight, said he was looking forward to heading to Hamilton for the charity event and fight that could see him enter the top 10 world rankings. "I really like the people in Hamilton . . . I have a lot of family down there and the locals really appreciate the sport." Parker said he was looking forward to spending some time with local light heavyweight boxing champion David Nyika. "He is a great young boxer and I would love to invite him as my guest on the night." While Parker has never fought at Claudelands Arena, he has been a spectator. Former All Blacks first five-eighth Carlos Spencer will also be making his professional boxing debut against rival rugby league great Monty Betham in premier undercard bout. Promoters are also promising some big name local celebrity line ups but remain tight lipped on who that might be. In the past 10 years the Fight for Life has grown and now attracts more than 5000 people to the event, with a television viewership of more than 500,000. Hamilton-based hospitality company Lawrenson Group's chief executive John Lawrenson said Claudelands Arena was having a positive affect on the city. "It is continually getting some really good events which have a really positive affect on local businesses. "It's not quite as big a night as an All Blacks game or V8 Saturday, but with people travelling from Auckland we would expect a big turnout - also people that come to these events will want to go out after." Promoters expect the December 6 event will be a sell-out, with tickets going on sale this Friday September 19 through Ticketek. "We have sold out every event we have ever had in Hamilton, and I expect about half the people will travel from outside the Waikato including about 1500 people down from Auckland," Higgins said.

Boxing novice Snedden in Parker's corner


Martin Snedden admits he doesn't know much about boxing but he likes what he sees in Joseph Parker and is looking forward to helping guide the Kiwi heavyweight's promising career. Snedden, the former New Zealand cricket boss and man who was central to New Zealand's successful hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, has just made the intriguing move to join the ranks of top Kiwi sports promotions company Duco Events. This is the outfit that has Parker on their books and have him on a fast-track up the rankings with the Kiwi now at No 14 in the WBO listings and at 15 with the WBA. Snedden has been hired as Duco's group chief executive, charged with bringing financial stability to an ambitious outfit that also runs the Auckland Nines league tournament that features all the NRL sides. Snedden, a former New Zealand test cricketer, brings contacts, legal expertise, respect, administrative clout - and a surprising interest in boxing to his new job. He is excited at the potential of Parker and eager to being part of the 22-year-old's progress. "I've always watched the absolute headline acts of boxing," Snedden says when asked of his interest in the ring game. "It's not something I know a lot about. Look, I won't express an opinion about Joseph's technical skills or otherwise ... but I have spent my life around athletes who have got potential and how they grow that to establish performance. "I think I can offer some advice in certain areas." Snedden believes Parker is reflective of Duco - talented with unlimited potential. "I'm really interested in Joseph Parker and what might happen there," Snedden said, admitting it was one of the lures to get him to join the company. "You look at him and think he obviously has a hell of a lot of international quality potential but no one knows how far he can go. But everyone believes he can go a long way. "It's a really nice challenge to work out how to get him from where he is now to a point where he is a genuine title contender. "There has been a lot of talk about whether he is being pushed too hard, too fast. I think it's good that we can have that debate over him." Snedden said that in his discussions with Duco ahead of his November 3 start date, it was clear that Parker's progress was being monitored and managed by his American-based trainer Kevin Barry whom he had faith in with Barry's "experience and understanding of the workings of the fight game".

Joseph Parker: Going back to the future

By Bryce Wilson

New Zealand, made up of two small islands, the shaky isles as it is sometimes referred to, isolated and diminutive in population, can be both a forward thinking yet deeply conservative country. Paradoxically everyone loves a winner in New Zealand so long as the winner in question remains both humble and unassuming. When placing its winning bid to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, a foundation of the countries’ successful tender was a pledge that the tournament would be played in ‘a stadium of 4 million’ and so it proved to be. The comparatively small size of New Zealand, where almost everyone knows someone, means that when their sports stars excel they often do so carrying the weight of a nation on their shoulders. And despite an anaemic output of champion pugilists, New Zealand has an enthusiastic history of supporting the rare few that do make noises on the international stage. Kiwi’s, they love to watch a decent scrap. Such was the excitement surrounding David Tua’s tilt at the heavyweight crown, fighting Lennox Lewis in 2000, that it remains one of the most watched broadcasts in the history of New Zealand television, beaten only by 3 matches in the 2100 rugby world cup. Similarly in 2009 when Tua fought Shane Cameron in a heated local derby, the PPV figures generated the highest number of sales per head of population, in the history all pay per view events globally. Fast forward to 2014 and New Zealand once again has a rising star within the heavyweight ranks, and like Tua before him humble in demeanor but also armed with fists of fury. It is a story that contains a few new faces and one reassuringly old one. Joseph Parker grew up in the modest environs of South Auckland, son to father Dempsey, named after the late great Jack Dempsey, it seems boxing ran in the Parker blood. In a country where every boy grows up dreaming of becoming an All Black, Joseph chose the lonelier more solitary path to the centre of the ring.

A place the ring is cleared and the bell sounds you stand, devoid of teammates and armed only with your own two fists as your chosen tools of trade, to shape your destiny, to chase greatness and change the outcome of your life. An interest in boxing soon turned into a promising amateur career which reached its apex when he represented New Zealand at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Although he didn’t medal at those games Parker’s emerging talent was enough to raise Kiwi expectations that potential Olympic glory beckoned ahead. The reality though was with his size and speed; Parker’s abilities were best suited to the potentially far more lucrative professional ranks. Joseph quickly signed with Duco events, the promoters responsible for putting on the aforementioned record breaking Tua/Cameron PPV event. Being an event management company specializing in high end corporate functions but reasonably new to the business of boxing promotion Duco turned to the one man in New Zealand they knew had been there, seen it and done it all before. Kevin Barry. Barry was well known to New Zealanders for his long partnership with David Tua. After a well publicized and acrimonious split with the Tuaman, Barry relocated with his family to Las Vegas, looking to escape the fishbowl of New Zealand, concentrating on building a highly successful corporate boxing business. He was also approached to train light heavyweight Beibut Shumenov, guiding him to the WBA world title in record breaking time. After a tough and trying five years times were good again for Kevin Barry. As happy and contented as Barry was a piece of the puzzle remained missing, a sense of a mission uncompleted for the tough kiwi trainer. Initially reluctant after an approach by Duco to train Parker lest history make that odious mistake of repeating itself a meeting was organized for both sides to assess the chemistry between the fledging pro and the veteran corner man. The relationship between a boxer and their trainer is perhaps the closest and most intense in sports. The long hours spent in camp away from loved ones, away from the bright lights and noisy distractions, weeks and months spent training in solitude, side by side in search of a singular pursuit. And then on fight night during those potentially brutal 36 minutes the fighter literally with their life that their trainer will see the things that they do not and guide them through the tsunami of punches and bad intentions that rain down upon them. If anyone was ever in doubt as to the kind of bond that can be formed between a trainer and fighter you only need read a few illuminating chapters of Mike Tyson’s recent biography to understand they type relationship that can form. The early meetings went well, Barry seeing in Parker enough raw potential to believe that perhaps lightening really can strike twice and Parker along with trusted input from his family putting their faith in Barry to guide him through the pro ranks and develop those raw skills from pretender to contender to potential champion. The results of the collaboration were almost immediate with Barry adding bulk to Parker, the baby fat of a young man’s body melting away into the muscle of a professional athlete.

The speed which had been a signature of his amateur career was now complimented with the one precious commodity that sells more tickets than anything else in the heavyweight division. Power. Parker for his part has the makings of a likable and engaging champion. Amiable outside the ring he possesses the killer instinct inside the ropes and is not shy to trade when the occasion presents itself (though not always to amusement of Barry.) And while he presents the same nice guy persona as fellow Kiwi legend David Tua, there appears to be something of a more diligent work ethic, the ability to maintain his discipline in between fights and the desire to go that extra yard, that extra one percent which is perhaps all that separated David Tua from a world title. Duco have made it clear that Parker’s will not be a slow development spent fighting tomato cans and part-time taxi drivers. They believe in Parker’s talent and Barry’s tutelage enough to move him swiftly along with almost every fight. Next up will be an October assignment facing the very tough and durable Sherman Williams in what will only be Parker’s 11th fight as a pro. Talks of facing a top ten opponent within the 12 months are not idle words but statements of serious intent. A heavyweight division which for so many years has seemingly idled in cruise control held hostage to the abilities and domination of the Klitschko brothers now appears to be on the brink of heating up again. British Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua who appears on a similar career trajectory to Parker is currently 7 and 0 and looking set to make a big run at the division. Perhaps a super-fight remains down the road for these two in the future. And while these young men have some way to go before they are the finished article, finally the landscape in what has often been derided as a dull and bankrupt division, now appears to hum auspiciously with the excitement of these future prospects. Which brings us neatly back to the start as Barry and Parker begin their journey negotiating their way through the myriad of the professional ranks and living the dream, at the same time a small nation of four million people at the bottom of the world collectively inhales as they once again prepare to begin the journey with them. The (heavy)weight of great expectations.

Parker to headline Hamilton show in December


Joseph Parker will headline the Fight for Life in Hamilton in December, a fight that could propel him into the top 10 of the world rankings. The 22-year-old is currently ranked 14th by the WBO and 15th by the WBA, but wins against Sherman ‘The Tank' Williams next month and a top ranked fighter in December should improve those rankings. It's too early for the Parker camp to count their chickens, especially due to the pedigree Williams has, and the quality of opponent touted for the December bout. WBA No 8 ranked boxer Fres Oquendo has been touted as Parker's opponent in December, while Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov's name has also popped up. Parker's handlers Duco have also been calling out undefeated Australian Lucas Browne in recent months, but whether the WBA 11th ranked boxer would take the challenge is another question. A fight against Oquendo could be an interesting prospect, with the 41-year-old Puerto Rican undefeated when he encountered David Tua in 2002. Oquendo was in charge of the fight until Tua's punching power came up trumps in the ninth round, knocking out the man nicknamed ‘Fast Fres', and handing him his first loss.

From there he went on to fight Chris Byrd, John Ruiz and Evander Holyfield, and most recently fought Uzbekistani boxer Ruslan Chagaev in July. Parker's trainer Kevin Barry, speaking to Fairfax NZ from Las Vegas, said it will be great to come to Hamilton in December, but said he is focused on the Williams fight in October. "We never look ahead of the person in front of us. It's all one fight at a time," Barry said. "Obviously our promoters have to have short-, medium- and long-term plans, but I'm very careful with Joseph that we focus on the next person we're fighting. "What I'm trying to do with Joe at this early stage of his career is continually put challenges in front of him that will enable him to develop and improve his skill set. "Sherman is one of those guys who will put a lot of pressure on Joe. He'll come forward, and he'll force Joe to be disciplined, and that's something I was very impressed with in the Minto fight. We're going to need it again against Sherman Williams." Barry said Parker's development is happening at a fast rate, and he is noticing improvements day to day, from sparring session to sparring session. "What we're working on in camp at the moment is developing and mixing up Joseph's lead patterns, his foot placements, moving his head more, but especially the lead patterns. "This is going to make him more unpredictable, and able to expose more openings in his opponents. "We sparred [on Friday morning], and he was really commanding. You could already see those things coming into play between the sparring session on Wednesday, and the one [on Friday.] "He's a very quick learner." An unpredictable Parker could spell trouble for those fighters currently occupying spaces in the top-10 of the world rankings. With his skill developing at an impressive rate, or an alarming rate for opponents, Parker will have game plans to deal with any style he encounters in the ring.

That's why Barry expects his fighter to be well entrenched in the top-10 of the world rankings by the middle of next year, if not by the end of 2014. "The rankings can be a bit misleading, and a bit political at times," Barry said. "Joseph, my son and I went down to the Hard Rock Casino where they had a WBA interim heavyweight title between a guy called Luis Ortiz from Cuba, fighting a guy Lateef Kayode. Both were undefeated, Ortiz is number 2 in the world, Kayode number 5 in the world with the WBA. "Joe would murder Kayode in one round. A lot of these rankings are very superficial. When we move into the top-10, it's important that Joe is equipped to be a top-10 fighter. "There's a lot of guys in the top-10 I'd love Joe to fight straight away, so Joe should be in there. Some guys I wouldn't want Joe to fight, because I don't think we're ready yet. "By the end of this year, midway through next year, his position in the top-10 will be solidified." Parker's opponent for the fight in Hamilton will be confirmed at a later date. Former All Black Carlos Spencer will make his professional boxing debut against former Kiwis rugby league star Monty Betham in the main undercard bout over four three-minute rounds. The Fight for Life is expected to feature several Hamilton celebrities, and Fairfax NZ understands Chiefs and Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna will return to the ring after his fight against Sam Thaiday last year.

- Waikato Times

Joseph Parker is grateful to have Kevin Barry MATT RICHENS

Joseph Parker has no doubt Kevin Barry is the man to take him to No 1 and is adamant the Christchurch trainer has made him the boxer he is. Parker, 22, is 10-0 as a professional and, speaking in Christchurch this week, said he owes it all to Barry. Parker was a teenager when the word sensation was first used to describe him. He was the golden boy for New Zealand's 2010 Commonwealth Games boxing campaign in Delhi, but bowed out early. Since then he has turned pro, fought some pushovers and slowly, but surely crept up the long boxing ladder. He's had nine knockout wins and his stock continues to rise. ''I honestly believe I wouldn't have the power, the speed, the endurance or the boxing knowledge I have if it weren't for Kevin,'' Parker said. ''He's just been the best thing for my career. I wouldn't be the boxer I am if it weren't for the work I've done with Kevin.'' There are others Parker wants to give thanks to including his family, management and promoters, but Barry receives the best plaudits. The pair have been together for 18 months and in that time Parker has developed in leaps and bounds as a fighter and making noise on the world scene. He's now largely based in Barry's family home in Las Vegas. ''He's taken me in. I can't speak for Kevin, but I think it's because he believes in me and that support drives me on. I live with him and his family and, honestly, Kevin is like a second dad to me.'' Their relationship, Parker said, is more than that of a normal trainer and boxer. Then, as if on cue, Parker receives a text from Barry who remained stateside. ''He's just checking in on me, making sure I'm looking after myself and not eating too much junk food. Being an Islander, if I just look at food I put on weight,'' Parker said. What works well between the two is their mutual respect. Parker is far cleverer and more aware of his ability and potential than when he and Barry first teamed up 18 months ago, but he's still a sponge. He listens and is desperate for more knowledge, desperate to improve. And Barry is developing the relationship as he goes too. As Parker's understanding improves and his thirst for knowledge grows, Barry is pushing him further.

''He doesn't just tell me what to do, he explains it and increases my understanding and I think because I understand it more and know what it's doing, I probably buy into it a bit more.'' The partnership has re-invigorated Barry too. The 1984 Olympic silver medallist last year told The Press he was ready to give the training game away before Parker came along. ''I had been working at a high-class sports club and doing OK for myself and I was happy,'' he said. ''I'd had a couple of boxers and they'd done pretty well, very well actually. Then this opportunity with Joseph came along.'' Barry said he was somewhat reluctant at first. He'd already coached a leading Kiwi contender in David Tua and knew only too well the potential pitfalls as well as the requirements on his time. He told Parker and promoters Duco that he'd take Parker on in a trial basis and if the South Aucklander ticked the right boxes, he'd make the relationship more permanent. Ad Feedback . It didn't take long and Barry was convinced and the partnership seems only to be getting stronger. Parker is desperate to fight in Christchurch as a present to Barry and said he would stay with the former St Bede's student as long as the trainer would have him. ''With what we've done together so far, the plan is definitely to stay with Kevin and have him take me to the top. He's knows what he's doing and what we're doing.'' Parker's mother likes him too and that's a big tick. ''And he's a perfectionist. He's a details man and I really like that. He wants me to fight the perfect fight. To the point where I get a little sad if I don't or I go away from our plan because I feel like I've let him down. ''And his passion for me to do better makes me strive to be better too. I used to be happy just winning, but now I know how important it is to not only win, but to learn my craft. ''He's world class, hopefully he makes me world class too.''

- The Press

Joseph Parker wants bout in Kevin Barry’s home

Joseph Parker is so keen to fight in Christchurch, the home town of his trainer Kevin Barry, he says he'll push for it personally with promoters Duco. Parker, 22, holds a bit more sway now; the 10-0 heavyweight's stock continues to rise internationally and he's the company's biggest boxing asset. Gone are the days of the naive boy from South Auckland who some feared could be taken in by slick-talking promoters. Parker says he now has more say and the relationship is a partnership. And he wants to come to Christchurch. Parker has fought in Christchurch, though that was a shambles. He fought in the Hornby Working Men's Club, against the brother of the man he was meant to fight after the initial opponent pulled out scared, on the undercard for Christchurch's Reece Papuni. He won in a doddle in easily the most mismatched fight of his 10-bout career. Parker would now be likely to fight at Horncastle Arena, the former CBS Canterbury Arena, and if the prices weren't astronomical, he could sell it out. ''It would mean heaps to me to come and fight here,'' Parker said yesterday, on a promotional tour for his October 16 fight with Bahamas' Sherman Williams. ''It's like a second home to me. Kevin's family are here and they've taken me in as part of their family. We've got heaps of supporters here and friends and family so I really want to fight here.'' Parker is a clever man and has said he'd like to fight everywhere in New Zealand, but Christchurch holds a special place.

''We want to do it right too. I want to put on a show here. I don't want to come here just for the sake of it and have some easy fight, we need to get the right opponent and really make a great night of it.'' When asked about the possibility, a Duco spokesperson said ''it will happen''. ''It's not a matter of if, but when. With the support down here, we think we owe it to this city to have Joseph fight in Christchurch.'' There's no date or plan for it to happen in the near future, but it will happen. There are other reasons; the Auckland corporate market is bled for money constantly and with several organisations trying to copy Duco's lead and promote fight night's of differing standards, the City of Sails could be seen as the City of Stale. Christchurch on the other hand is still light on top class sporting events and would probably support the event well. ''I'd love to do it for Kevin too,'' Parker added. Ad Feedback ''He's an amazing trainer and he's been like a second dad to me. ''It would mean a lot to him, I think. His dad had a boxing gym here, his brother's now got a boxing gym here and his whole family is into boxing. ''He's done so well in boxing too and is so highly regarded by people in the business, it would be nice to have a big night for him in his home town so the people of Christchurch can celebrate him. Because he's world class."

- The Press

VIDEO: Joseph Parker aiming to outgun the Tank

(please click link to watch video)

Joseph Parker will fight for the fourth time this year when he takes on Sherman 'The Tank' Williams on October 16. "There's a few little tests he needs to pass in front of my eyes before I know that everything is how I need it to be," says Kovacevic. The trainer has guaranteed Berridge will fight again before the end of the year.

VIDEO: Joseph Parker has another opponent lined up (0:34)

(please click link to watch video)

Boxing: Rocky show inspiration for parker

~~On his recent trip to New York with his promoters to sound out television executives and other fight game movers and shakers, Joseph Parker attended the Rocky musical on Broadway, a show he enjoyed immensely. As he prepares for his October 16 fight with Sherman Williams in Waitakere, the Kiwi heavyweight knows he is heading for the big stage himself -- with all the scrutiny and pressure that brings. "Speaking to them and knowing they're interested is very exciting," Parker, back in Auckland for a brief promotional trip, said of his conversations with Showtime and HBO, among others. "There's a little bit of pressure now. If you make a mistake or lose a fight or don't look good, they might change their minds, so you have to be on that same level you were or even increase it and get better with every fight that comes." Parker and his promoters Duco stayed in Times Square, taking in the sights of Manhattan, before travelling to Los Angeles for more talks. The 22-year-old's Rocky experience might have resonated that bit more after running up the famous "Rocky Steps" in Philadelphia days before his recent victory over Keith Thompson, a knockout which improved his record to 10-0. Duco's Dean Lonergan hailed the fact-finding trip as a success but added as a caveat with an eye on the stocky Williams: "Every performance is important, really important. We don't need to be taking backward steps now." The 41-year-old Williams from the Bahamas has been stopped only once in 52 fights.

Joseph Parker visits golden boy David Nyika

Pro believes the future is bright for Kiwi boxing, thanks to the rising young Hamilton star, BEN STRANG reports. The future of New Zealand boxing is bright, according to New Zealand heavyweight champ Joseph Parker. Parker visited Hamilton yesterday to meet up with Commonwealth Games gold medallist David Nyika at Ringside Gym. It was the first time Parker has visited Ringside since a training camp there before the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. Back then Nyika weighed about 40kg and, as Parker showed, stood up to about his chest. Now Nyika has a small height advantage, but there is still a big difference in the bulk the two boxers carry around. ''I'm real happy with how his performance is going. It's history. We haven't had a gold medal for a long time, and a silver medal [to David Light],'' Parker said. ''We both attended the Commonwealth Games at the same age. He was able to achieve this, which is awesome for our country and I'm definitely proud of him. ''He's doing a good job with his coaches and his team. He's on the right track. I know that he's looking forward to Rio, and I know that he'll get there.'' Parker fell short of qualifying for the London Olympics in 2012, leading to a professional switch that year. Since then he has fought and won 10 times, winning nine by knockout, forging a promising career under the tutelage of Kevin Barry. Parker and Nyika shared stories about their time in the New Zealand camps at the Commonwealth Games, and also talked about their current training set-ups. Nyika asked Parker about life in Las Vegas, and mentioned his homesickness while away in Glasgow, and Parker said it was the same for him for his first year based away from home. They went on to talk about the fighters Nyika expects to fight in coming years, and in particular the contrasting styles Cuban and Russian boxers have to the rest of the world.

Parker has no doubt about the talent at Nyika's disposal, and compared him to one of the greats of the sport. ''He's got good height, good speed. He does what you're supposed to be doing in boxing which is to hit and don't get hit. ''[He reminds me of] someone like Floyd [Mayweather Jnr], who doesn't get hit. He's really good defensively and he's elusive, moves around, dodges a lot of the punches. ''You last long in this sport with that kind of style.'' Nyika weighs in at about 81kg, but that should grow as he naturally bulks up. In the next year Nyika will likely move into the heavyweight class in amateur boxing, and will head to Rio in that weight grade. Whether that means the two will face off in the ring one day is uncertain, but in the meantime Nyika said he uses Parker as an inspiration to push himself in the ring. ''He's an inspiration of mine, he's the kind of person I admire,'' Nyika said. ''He's in the sport to better New Zealand boxing and I think he's doing a real good job of it. ''I think the fact that we can have a yarn about our experiences, I think we're on the same level. We can just chat about all the tournaments.'' Ad Feedback Parker talked about his training for the Delhi Games and London Olympic preparation, and Nyika said he had learnt from what he was told. ''He's really turned up the heat in terms of training, you know. He said he got up to about 118kg when he was in the amateurs, and since then he's really worked hard in the gym. ''I think [in London Olympic qualifying there was] a bit of complacency in his training. Boxers get like that. Everybody has lows and highs in boxing, and this is one of my highs. ''I've just got to stay positive and keep working hard."

- Waikato Times

Sherman Williams chasing Joseph Parker’s titles DUNCAN JOHNSTONE

Sherman Williams says he's ''no stepping stone'' in boxer Joseph Parker's rapid rise in the heavyweight division. The two squared off yesterday for a media conference ahead of their October 16 clash in west Auckland and Williams was full of the sort of verbal sparring associated with the division. At the age of 41 and with 17 years in the professional ranks, the chunky chap from the Bahamas reckons he's earned the right to talk the talk. With 36 wins in 52 fights and being knocked out just once, he also feels he's walked the walk. ''I'm going to bring vicious lefts, vicious rights ... I'm going to do whatever it takes to take these titles from Joseph,'' Williams declared with New Zealand's Parker putting his WBO Oriental and PABA titles on the line. ''Joseph is a very good boxer, he's a great athlete and I actually like the guy. He has a good attitude, he has a good personality. But come October 16 it's going to come down to who wants it more, who has the better condition and who has the experience to take out the job.'' Williams isn't surprised by the fast-track Parker finds himself on. While some critics worry the 22-year-old is being rushed, Williams says it's what happens when promising youngsters get big backing behind them. But, he points out, boxing was the most brutal of sports where inadequacies could be exposed. ''So far from what I've seen and know, Joseph is a good athlete, he has a lot of natural attributes. But boxing is boxing; boxing aint rugby, boxing aint football, boxing aint baseball, boxing is an animal of its own. I've been in it for a while and I consider myself a lion in the ring. ''Joseph is in a good position as a young fighter coming up - he has Duco behind him, he has a lot of money behind him and normally they move in this fashion.

''But I'm no stepping stone. I've come to fight. So the fight is signed, the fight is made and if they aren't sure what they are doing, it's too late because come October 16 I intend to deliver big time.'' Williams is thrilled to get this shot at Parker after their original fight, scheduled to be on the undercard to Wladirmir Klitschko's world title fight in Germany in April didn't eventuate. Williams was thrown out of Klitschko's camp after differences of opinion and sent back to the Bahamas. He said his problems lay with Klitschko and not Parker, he certainly wasn't running scared. He said getting this opportunity justified his belief that he had done nothing wrong in the eyes of the Parker camp. But while Parker has gone on to fight three times since then and takes his career to 10-0 (9 KOs), Williams had remained inactive. He had issues with a manager who failed to get him fights and he also had to deal with the deaths of his mother and mother-in-law. ''I've had some ups and downs, some personal issues to deal with. But I've continued to train and got my road work in and when the fight was confirmed I was straight into the gym. I'm always in the gym. ''I don't worry about the inactivity ... I've had that through my career. The way I see it, I'm the fresher guy.'' Ad Feedback Parker said he was in a good space after his latest win over American journeyman Keith Thompson earlier this month. He had nothing but respect for the durable Williams and his training would reflect that. Parker heads to Las Vegas tomorrow for a seven-week camp. He had already done major homework on Williams before their last scheduled fight. He believed he was a better fighter since then and was looking forward to his fourth fight of a year where he will also squeeze in another bout, headlining December's Fight For Life promotion. ''I love keeping busy,'' Parker said. ''A lot of fighters have one or two fights a year and I think that's a bit dangerous. I think keeping busy you get a lot of experience. When I look back at the old days, a lot of fighters had nine or 10 fights a year.''

- Stuff

Paul Lewis: Plan for Parker not hitting a bum note

Prepare for more bleating that boxing promoters are pushing New Zealand heavyweight hopeful Joseph Parker too hard, too fast if, as is possible, the rising heavyweight is set up to fight US boxer Fres Oquendo at the end of the year. There have been such moans since 22-year-old Parker convincingly beat little-known American Keith Thompson this month and is heading for his October bout with Sherman 'The Tank' Williams - the match-up originally planned for the undercard of world champion Wladimir Klitschko's predictable defeat of Samoan-Australian Alex Leapai in Germany earlier this year. Williams made headlines when, as Klitschko's sparring partner for that fight, he was allegedly sent home for being out of condition. There were other, contrasting tales that Klitschko had tired of Williams' bad attitude - perhaps a more likely explanation than Williams' contention he was hitting Klitschko too hard. That led to Williams pulling out of his fight with Parker. He instead fought Brazil's Marcelo Luiz Nascimento, winning well, although the big Brazilian (1.96m) gave Parker a few problems. October's bout will mean Parker will have had four fights in, gasp, six months and five in eight months by the end of the year. Anyone who thinks that is too rigorous an itinerary knows little about boxing nor about the level of fitness Parker has already attained under demanding trainer Kevin Barry. Fact: Former heavyweight champ George Foreman fought 13 times in 1969 Fact: Mike Tyson fought 15 times in 1995 Fact: Klitschko fought 13 times in 1997, also on his way up. It's all about the quality of opponent. One critique that Parker was being pushed too far offered undefeated Australian heavyweight Lucas Browne as a shining example.

The critic said he had done the hard yards, earning the title shot he had waited for. Hooey. Browne is undefeated (25-0), a big bloke with some colourful tats and his management team have to be congratulated for getting him up the rankings and into the eyeline of promoters. He is ranked seventh in the IBF, 17th in the IBO and doesn't crack the top 15 in the WBA, WBC or WBO (who now rank Parker 14th in the world). Browne is close to scoring an IBF mandatory, probably against US fighter Steve Cunningham, the winner of which will face Klitschko in a title fight. But Browne has got there by fighting few opponents of real class. One stands out - James Toney, once a three-weight world champion (he started as a middleweight) but who is now 45 and a spent force in the heavyweights; plus lesser-known Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko, a tough customer once lined up to fight Parker. Rudenko (a member of the Klitschko K2 stable) was also undefeated and had himself yet to face anyone of note. So holding Browne up as some sort of poster boy for old-school boxing and worthy ascent up the rankings is a bit of a laugh. What boxers and promoters say is often about striking a posture and marketing as much as anything. Browne has gobbed off in Parker's direction but it's money that really talks. His team are aiming him at the mandatory and Klitschko rather than a one-off bout against Parker who, with 50-odd amateur fights, has much more boxing in his background than Browne, never an amateur and a 35-year-old former MMA exponent. Which brings us back to Oquendo and Williams. The latter, if he is in shape, is an upgrade for Parker in terms of credibility. He has fought 52 times and been knocked out only once in 13 losses. He hits hard - you don't get invited to spar with Klitschko if you are a pudding, even if the several big-name boxers Williams has fought have all beaten him. At 41, 1.8m and built like a tank, he is another of a succession of shorter, strong, punchers the speedy Parker has fought. Oquendo is known as 'Fast Fres' and would have the quickest hands Parker has yet faced, although the fight may not come about if Oquendo decides on another opponent. Oquendo lost a majority decision in last month's WBA second-string title fight to 35-year-old Uzbekistani Ruslan Chagaev, who will never be counted among the sport's great champions. But, at 41 and on the way down, Oquendo shapes as another step up and a good test for Parker. He has fought well-performed boxers like Toney, Evander Holyfield, John Ruiz and Chris Byrd.

Oquendo won his first 22 fights before meeting an in-form David Tua in 2002 and was controlling the fight before Tua dropped him late in the bout in a career-changing loss. Parker has also yet to fight (apart from Nascimento) a really big, tall, powerful and fast fighter in the heavyweights. That will come. With the heavyweight division at one of its weakest ebbs of all time (apart from Klitschko), now is a good time to be 'blooding' Parker. Too far, too fast, too young? Nah.

- Herald on Sunday

Joseph Parker a 'better fighter' for Williams

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker is adamant he's a far better boxer now than when he was originally scheduled to fight Sherman Williams. Parker and Williams fronted a media conference today ahead of their October 16 clash in west Auckland. They were meant to fight back in April in Germany, but when Williams, who was sparring with Wladimir Klitschko, fell out with the world title holder and was sent packing, their clash on the undercard never eventuated. When they do eventually square off six months later, it seemed the durable Williams from Bahamas would find a more imposing Parker. "Oh definitely, I feel a way better fighter now than when I was over there watching Klitschko," Parker said today. "When I compare my body, I'm in a lot better shape now. When I compare my skill, I know I'm a lot better. I know I've learned a lot." Parker disposed of Williams' replacement in Germany with a seventh round knockout. He then produced the best performance of his young professional career to dismantle American veteran Brian Minto in six rounds and earlier this month impressed United States pundits with a business-like KO of Keith Thompson in Pennsylvania. All the while, Williams has stayed inactive, training and dealing with personal issues like the deaths of his mother and mother-in-law. The 41-year-old hasn't fought since last November when he improved his record to 36 wins (19 KOs), 2 draws and 13 losses by gaining a unanimous points decision over American punching bag Earl Ladson. Parker has already done extensive homework on Williams and now it's a case of picking up on that again - and moving forward - when he heads to Las Vegas on Thursday for a seven week training camp with Kevin Barry. "The groundwork I have done already certainly helps me with this fight," Parker said. "But I've also got fights under my belt, he hasn't fought for a while. "I'm going back to Vegas to train hard and learn a lot more for this fight as well." Parker said he needed to be well prepared. The hardest fight was always the one immediately in front of any boxer, particularly in the heavyweight division where one punch could cause so much damage, and the Kiwi said that was exactly the case right now. "This fight is my toughest fight for where I am at the moment," Parker said. "He's a fighter with a lot of experience ... he has fought a lot of the top fighters around the world, the likes of (Evander) Holyfield. He's got a good chin, he's proved that." Williams said he was fit and ready to apply the finishing touches to his preparations. "This is bullets and gun smoke ... but I fight better than I talk," Williams said, feeling a little aggrieved to be mentioned alongside Minto. "I don't know about Brian Minto ... Brian Minto is Brian Minto, I'm Sherman 'The Tank' Williams from the Bahamas and I'm coming here to fight and do what I always do ... whether it's to the body or the head, if I see an opportunity I'm going to take it.