Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Tua incentive angers Barry

Parker's trainer speaks out against the extra motivation given to his charge's opponent.

Joseph Parker's trainer Kevin Barry is angry Francois Botha has the incentive of a potentially lucrative fight against David Tua if he can get past his man on Thursday night.

A heavyweight meeting with Tua, who is in the midst of another comeback, gives Botha extra motivation to beat 21-year-old Parker at Auckland's Trusts Arena in an event sponsored by Hydr8 Zero Explosion.

Barry, who has been training Parker for the past two months, has made his feelings known to Dean Lonergan of Duco Events, the organisation which promotes Parker.
"I just said him, 'oh thanks, like he really needs more motivation','' Barry said.
Barry, who used to train Tua before the pair fell out, is also unhappy about the order of the undercard.

Daniella Smith has a world title fight against Arlene Blencowe - previous opponent Sarah Howett withdrew due to a wrist injury - yet has been given the low-profile slot of third fight in. The top undercard fight (of six) has been awarded to Matthew Wood v Colin Lane, who are fighting in what has been advertised as the New Zealand World Dwarf Boxing Championship.

"I think it's terrible what they've done to Daniella Smith,'' Barry said. "A girl who has been around boxing her whole life, who has won a women's world title, is fighting for another one and they throw her down on the card. She should be the main support fight and I've said that to Dean.

"Hey, I love these guys, they're tremendous promoters and they do a hell of a job with marketing and they do a tremendous job with Joseph, but some of the decisions they make I don't agree with.''

In response, Lonergan said of the Tua carrot for 44-year-old Botha: "I know Kevin's not happy about it. But ... we're in a business. Yes, Francois has got an absolute incentive to go out and beat Joseph, but you know what, Joseph's in a tough game. We thought that Francois would be a tough fight, but I've got confidence in Joseph's ability and Kevin's ability to beat Francois, but if they can't then we'll have to sit down and ask some questions.''

Of the decision to drop Smith down the order, Lonergan said: "Kevin is a boxing purist. There is quite a bit of thought into how the card is organised and ordered. We're in the business of overall entertainment, we're not boxing purists, but equally we want to get the best bang for our buck and if people are talking about it, we don't see that as being a bad thing.''

Joseph, who has a five-win, no-loss record, looked relaxed at yesterday's official press conference ahead of the biggest challenge of his career. The sparring in Las Vegas and six-round victory over Brice Ritani-Coe have clearly helped his confidence, but, as Barry rightly said, plenty of questions remain.

"Can he go eight rounds? Can he keep Botha out for eight rounds? Will the experience of Botha be too much for him? How is he going to handle the crowd in his first real big fight as the main attraction? You never really know until the night.''

Also in attendance yesterday was Richard Moriarty from Union Gaming Advisors, a Las Vegas-based investment banking company who are funding Parker to the tune of five figures with the promise of more to come. It is significant backing for a Kiwi boxer at the start of his career. Moriarty, for one, sees Parker as a safe bet.


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