Boxing: Duco in Parker's corner

By Steve Deane

Boxing promoter Duco Events has shown Joseph Parker the money.

New Zealand's best heavyweight prospect since David Tua, Parker will today ink a six-year deal that could earn the South Auckland 20-year-old millions of dollars.

While Duco has indeed shown Parker the money, he will need to perform to get it. The Herald understands the contract is loaded with incentives, with Parker to hit pay dirt only if he lives up to his potential. The deal - which will have Parker fight up to eight times a year including headlining December's Fight For Life card - also sees a crack training team assembled around him.

"The heavyweight division is there for the taking," Duco's Dean Lonergan said. "We're backing Joseph Parker to eventually take it."

With just one professional fight under his belt - a scratchy second-round stoppage of Huntly schoolteacher Dean Garmonsway - Duco's backing of Parker is a massive show of confidence in a fighter who sparkled in the amateur ranks but wasn't able to deliver on his promise after missing selection for the London Olympics.

"I couldn't be happier," the Sir Bob Jones-managed Parker said.

"David Higgins and Dean Lonergan are putting a lot of time, energy and money into me and that is humbling.

"Those two men know the business of boxing better than anyone and for them to make a long-term commitment to me has given me a real boost. As a professional, I have learned very quickly that you need as much help as you can get."

Parker will sign the contract at Jones' Auckland offices this morning.

He was to fight on Friday night at West Auckland's Trusts Stadium against journeyman Hirewa Te Rangi. However, that fight has now been scrapped because of concerns about the 0-13 Te Rangi's suitability as an opponent.

The fight was to have been one of the headline bouts of Combined Combat's Rising Stars promotion - a card that also includes Muay Thai and MMA bouts. Whether Parker would take on a replacement opponent or withdraw from the event altogether had not been decided, Higgins said yesterday.

Highly regarded fitness trainer Lee Parore - the man who rebuilt David Tua ahead of his devastating win over Shane Cameron three years ago - has been given the job of turning the technically gifted Parker into an imposing physical specimen. Since linking with Parore five weeks ago, Parker has already dropped 12kg.

"Training with him has opened my eyes and made me realise that the training I was doing earlier in the year was not up to standard," Parker said. Lonergan said no stone would be left unturned during Parker's development.

"This is no half-arsed operation. Joseph has natural attributes that money can't buy. He has height and he has size. So his dimensions are well suited to the heavyweight division. He also has speed and lightning-fast hands that, with every session with Lee Parore, are packing a heavier punch.

"Joseph has to maintain that type of improvement because we will fast-track him. He will fight at least eight times in his first year with us. We plan to move through the regional belts to the Commonwealth belts and into title eliminators quickly."

Joseph Parker

Born: Auckland, September 1, 1992

Age: 20

Height: 1.97m

Weight: 106kg

Stance: Orthodox

Amateur highlights: Commonwealth trials silver medal, World Youth Games bronze medal, Arafura Games gold medal, China Open gold medal, Belgrade Serbia gold medal

Turned pro: July 5, 2012

Pro record: 1-0 (1 KO)

- NZ Herald

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