Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Parker granted wish to fight on home soil

Joseph Parker. Photo / Nick Reed
Joseph Parker. Photo / Nick Reed

Joseph Parker's promoters have given their man the best possible chance to win his IBF heavyweight title elimination bout against Carlos Takam by holding it at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre, about nine kilometres from where he was brought up.

The venue has a seating capacity of only 3,000, compared with the far larger Vector Arena near Auckland's waterfront, which has a capacity of about 12,000, but Parker's desire for home advantage and the fact it will almost certainly be his last fight in South Auckland, meant Duco Events agreed with his request.

Parker, now based in Las Vegas, has fought twice at the Vodafone Events Centre for comprehensive TKO victories over Americans Brian Minto and Jason Pettaway and is comfortable fighting in familiar surroundings in front of friends and family.

"Potentially it will be the last time he fights in South Auckland for a long time, if not ever," promoter Dean Lonergan said today.

"We thought this was the best possible place to have it. It's only a small capacity but on that night it will be by far and away the biggest sporting event in New Zealand and it will be by far and away the biggest boxing event New Zealand has ever had."

If the undefeated Parker beats the France-based Takam, he will fight the winner of the Anthony Joshua v Charles Martin title fight which will be held in London on April 9.

As a mandatory challenger, the IBF rules dictate Joshua would have to face Parker by January next year. The fight would be held in London, with Lonergan saying today that Wembley Stadium was a possibility.

"Potentially if Joseph Parker fights in England for a world title it will be in front of 100,000 people. I don't know that any Kiwi has ever experienced that. To have 100,000 people turn up to watch two guys do battle in the middle of the ring would be something very special. It would be one of the biggest fights in the history of boxing."

Takam's promoter, Italian Christian Cherchi, conceded he would have preferred to hold the fight against Parker in Paris.

However, he said it was a "50-50" fight with his man a good chance to KO Parker.

"For sure it will be the biggest challenge of Parker's [career] - he hasn't fought someone like Carlos Takam," Cherchi said.

- NZ Herald

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