Boxing: Parker on collision course with SBW

By Steve Deane

Top Kiwi prospect looks to become mandatory challenger within a year

Joseph Parker is expected to be too fast for opponent Richard Tutaki (right) tonight. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Joseph Parker is expected to be too fast for opponent Richard Tutaki (right) tonight. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Joseph Parker's road to heavyweight boxing relevance lies either through or around Sonny Bill Williams.

Should Parker follow the script tonight and dispense with Richard Tutaki in the six-round main event of the Fight for Life at Trusts Stadium, his handlers Duco plan to set the 20-year-old fledgling pro on a collision course with New Zealand Professional Boxing Association champion Williams.

Duco's David Higgins confirmed Parker would work towards a challenge for the rival NZ National Boxing Federation title - held by Chauncy Welliver - and then seek out Williams for a unification fight.

"We don't want to rush anything but a big fight in the medium term would be Sonny Bill Williams," Higgins said.

"I know Joseph is up for it and if Sonny Bill was up for it it would create quite a bit of interest. We see Sonny Bill as beatable."

Williams is due to fight ageing South African veteran Francois Botha on February 8 in Sydney.

The NZPBA title Williams won by knocking out Clarence Tillman in February will not be on the line.

NZPBA president Lance Revill confirmed Williams could defend his title against any fighter ranked in the organisation's top 10 for a first defence, but after that he would have to fight the number one contender. Duco's plan is for Parker to become that mandatory challenger within a year.

A Parker-Williams fight would have significant box office appeal in this country, however Higgins believes Williams would forgo the hefty payday and vacate his title rather than face a genuine prospect such as Parker.

"Knowing [Williams' manager] Khoder Nasser's tactics, excuses will come into play and it may not pan out," Higgins said.

"Either way, I think the issue will be forced in the coming months."

For now the entire scenario is hypothetical. Both Williams and Parker are still largely unknown quantities.

However Parker's impressive amateur record stacks up favourably against the succession of bums and beneficiaries Williams has dispatched during a five-fight pro career.

While his celebrity status has helped Williams pick up a national title with unseemly ease, Parker has several more hoops to jump through before getting his title shot.

When and how it comes will depend on Welliver.

It seems unlikely the American-Kiwi will defend his NZNBF title by January, in which case it will become vacant.

Top-ranked locals Joey Wilson and Afa Tatupo would be first cabs off the rank for a shot at the vacant tile, NZNBF commissioner Reg Williams said. Parker is likely three fights away from being in contention.

The South Auckland Mormon's ascent up the rankings should continue tonight against Tutaki.

While 43-fight journeyman Tutaki is a step up from the obese Terry Tuteru and Huntly school teacher Dean Garmonsway, Parker should be too slick and too fast for the durable but limited Tutaki.

Parker's next assignment could be a trip across the Tasman to fight on the Anthony Mundine v Daniel Geale undercard in January.

Promoters for that card on January 30 in Sydney recently confirmed it would also feature street fighting legend Kimbo Slice, as well as the boxing debut of Wallaby Quade Cooper.

- NZ Herald

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