Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Boxing: Parker to be kept active this year

Business is about to pick up in the world of Joseph Parker.

Following his second-round knock out of South African veteran Francois Botha in Auckland last night, Parker's promoters, Duco Events, plan to keep the young heavyweight active this year and he might fight as many as four more times before the end of December.

The immediate task is to ensure whether Parker and trainer Kevin Barry will continue to work together and, once a longer-term arrangement is agreed upon, Duco's Dean Lonergan said they would push Parker to meet quality opponents.

"We want to push Joseph and not go down the easy route of padding his career with patsies,'' Lonergan said. "We want to push Joseph and see how good he could be and Joseph himself wants to find out. There's only one way to do that and that's to up the ante in terms of opponents.''

Parker will definitely be on a fight card in August that will see Kiwi heavyweight David Tua as the main draw but just who will step in the ring with Parker remains to be seen.

"We'd take Shane Cameron tomorrow,'' Lonergan said. "[Cameron's manager] Kenny Reinsfield will come up with all sorts of reasons why Shane shouldn't fight or he'll rubbish it and say `we wouldn't take a guy with such low experience'. We'd pay Shane a very significant six-figure sum to get in the ring right now with Joseph Parker over eight rounds and in two to three months we'd pay him that same money to get in the ring over 10 rounds.

"But I'll promise you this, Shane and Ken will run a million miles because Joseph will beat him up because Shane's easy to hit. Joseph's too fast, too powerful and would knock him out.''

Reinsfield wouldn't even entertain the prospect of what would happen if the pair went toe-to-toe this year and said Parker wasn't in Cameron's class at this stage of his young career.

"Congratulations Joseph and good on you, but you are going to need to do something more than beat a 44-year-old man who's lost six of his last seven fights to earn the right to fight Shane Cameron,'' Reinsfield said.

"It's like Mt Albert winning the [local] rugby league competition, beating an over-40s side and then thinking they want to play the frickin Warriors.''

Reinsfield also urged perspective following Parker's win and said it would be more realistic to see him matched up against fellow Kiwi heavyweights like New Zealand National Boxing Federation Heavyweight Champion Afa Tatupu or the 9-2-2 Joey Williams.

"You've got Dean Lonergan who called Francois Botha a bum and shot,'' Reinsfield said.

"But now that Joseph Parker has beat him he's all of a sudden fantastic. When [Botha] fought Sonny Bill Williams he said he was a bum and he was no good. Do you recall that? Well, please report it.''

Cameron is currently taking a break away from the ring and his last fight was a points defeat to Danny Green in a cruiserweight bout in Australia in November.

Reinsfield said Cameron would likely pull on the gloves later this year but it wasn't clear whether he would fight at cruiserweight or heavyweight.

Parker, who is now a perfect 6-0, won't be limited to fighting in Auckland. Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin are all realistic locations to host a fight night with the 21-year-old as the headliner.

Duco's six-year contract with Parker doesn't limit him to fighting in New Zealand and Lonergan said they expected to take the South Aucklander abroad in a bid to boost his profile.

Duco could potentially co-promote a fight abroad but each bout would vary depending on where it's held and the opponent.

- APNZ

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