Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Parker merely a 'prospect' - Takam's camp

Carlos Takam's promoter has described Joseph Parker as merely a "prospect" because he hasn't fought anyone of the standard of his man.

Christian Cherchi, who is in Auckland with Takam in preparation for the IBF heavyweight eliminator fight at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre a week on Saturday, said the 35-year-old Takam had an automatic advantage given his experience. That's what made Takam a "contender", he said.

"Parker hasn't fought somebody like Carlos yet," Cherchi said. "Carlos is already proven. He has fought on HBO in Canada, he has fought [Tony] Thompson in Paris, he fought [Alexander] Povetkin. He is already tested on a high level.

"The reward is very big - a IBF title [fight] against [Anthony] Joshua, who is very big at the moment. Everybody wants a piece of Joshua now. They're not targeting Tyson Fury because Joshua is the most popular fighter in Great Britain."

So far the early shots in the phony war to the most significant fight in Parker's career are going as planned. Takam and his camp are putting their case to the media, and Parker will get his chance tomorrow.

It is a routine that the 24-year-old Parker has become used to over his 18-fight professional career; what is different though is the fact that Takam truly believes he can win. He will be the most dangerous - and probably fittest - opponent that Parker has faced.

It would be dangerous for the French-Cameroon fighter to become over-confident, however. Parker has consistently risen to the challenges placed in front of him during his professional career and will have a height, reach and speed advantage.

Takam is likely to be slightly heavier. He is weighing about 108kg and is likely to be about 110kg on fight night. Parker generally fights at 106kg these days.

And, while Cherchi is confident of Takam's chances, his mention of the latter rounds of the Povetkin fight in Russia in 2014, which Takam lost by way of knockout in the 10th round, was illuminating.

"For me, he was winning the Povetkin fight before the stoppage. All of a sudden he was gassed, but he was doing quite well."

Asked whether that might play into Parker's hands, especially given the travel factor for Takam, Cherchi replied: "We come here two weeks before... I don't know - he had gone 12 rounds before so I don't know what the problem was."

For his part, Takam, who was reticent about his English during interviews today, said when asked about the threat posed by Parker: "I don't know, but he's going to do his best to be a challenge, because I'm the best."

Asked whether he could knock out Parker, he said: "You're going to see!"

He was happier afterwards playing up to the cameras with his shirt off and shadow boxing. "This one's for you, Joseph... boom," he said, delivering a right cross.

- NZ Herald

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