Boxing: Countdown sees Parker chilling out

By Daniel Richardson in Oberhausen

Kiwi confident all the hard work has been done as he prepares to fight Nascimento.

Joseph Parker and coach Kevin Barry have worked hard to increase his power. Photo / Chris Gormon
Joseph Parker and coach Kevin Barry have worked hard to increase his power. Photo / Chris Gormon

Joseph Parker cuts a relaxed figure as he plays euchre with his cornermen in the lobby of a German hotel.

The Kiwi heavyweight prospect has a right to be nervous as he nears the next step in his boxing education, but he shows no anxiety as the cards are shuffled and dealt.

Parker was set to meet the 1.80m Sherman Williams on the undercard of Wladimir Klitschko's world heavyweight title defence against Australian Alex Leapai in Oberhausen, but a contractual dispute has seen the Bahamian veteran pull out, leaving Brazilian Marcelo Luiz Nascimento to step in.

Despite the change of opponent, he remains confident the hard work has been done ahead of Sunday's fight.

"If I didn't put in the work you'd feel a bit nervous coming in towards the fight week... But I know that I've put everything in in the gym and know when it comes to fight night I want to show everyone what I've been training so hard for."

Nascimento has to be commended for taking the fight with a week's notice and the 1.96m 33-year-old (17-5) is the tallest man Parker has ever climbed in the ring with.

"It is going to be a challenge in that sense," Parker said.

But Nascimento won't have the quickness of the 1.92m South Aucklander, while Parker's camp insist his power has increased since he knocked out Afa Tatupu in Auckland in October. Going by the size of his legs there's evidence to suggest he has the base to hit harder than ever.

Parker (7-0) has sparred with Bermane Stiverne during the lead-up to this week's fight - the Canadian will meet Chris Arreola for the vacant WBC world heavyweight title next month.

"I'm ready for anyone they put me in the ring with," Parker said.

The man who has the nerves this week is trainer Kevin Barry.

"It's a big change and it's a change that for me, as the coach, I'm really concerned about," Barry said of the opponent switch. "We've spent the last two months training for Sherman 'The Tank' Williams... I just said: 'Nothing changes'. Everything we've done in the last 12 weeks has been geared up to Joseph performing on the 27th of April."

For the record, Barry won the game of euchre.

Daniel Richardson is in Germany courtesy of Duco Events.

- NZ Herald

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