Boxing: Joseph Parker to fight Solomon Haumono

The Joseph Parker versus Solomon Haumono fight contract was finally signed off today and when it is held in the South Island - probably Christchurch - in July, it will be the perfect tune-up for the new IBF world heavyweight boxing mandatory challenger.

Australian-based Haumono, 40, will present the standard base-level threat of a heavyweight, but anything less than a knockout victory for 24-year-old Parker would be a huge shock.

Parker proved in beating Carlos Takam over 12 tough rounds in Manukau on Saturday that he belongs in the division's elite. He is also becoming used to the pressure and the attention not only in New Zealand but around the world.

Haumono will be seen by Parker's promoters, Duco, as a "safe" opponent, but with plenty of upside in terms of publicity.

Haumono will be in Auckland today to announce the fight with Parker, and the Auckland-born Tongan will quickly see how at ease Parker, who will fly out tomorrow for a holiday before travelling back to camp in Las Vegas, is in the glare of the spotlight.

Him? Not so much. His last fight - against an overweight Argentine Manuel Alberto Pucheta in Brisbane last month - was unimpressive.

It was on the undercard of a Jeff Horn fight - the promising Australian welterweight is a Duco stablemate of Parker's - and while Haumono finally broke down Pucheta with a knockout in the sixth, he looked cumbersome and hesitant.

Haumono has fought 28 times as a professional, all but once in Australia. His one fight abroad was at Auckland's SkyCity on July 5, 2012, on the same undercard as Parker, making his professional debut with a TKO victory over Dean Garmonsway.

That night, Haumono drew with New Zealander Joey Wilson, and since then his and Parker's careers have gone in different directions.

Haumono's WBA Oceania heavyweight title and PABA heavyweight title belts will be on the line - nothing to compare with a world title, which Parker hopes to get near in London in about six months - but good to have nonetheless.

The fight will also attract much more publicity than a tune-up against an anonymous American journeyman - potentially good for Duco's bottom line.

It will be hyped as a transtasman grudge match with Parker's IBF world heavyweight mandatory position on the line which will attract the attention of the Aussie media and public as the Kiwi continues his march towards his title shot. Haumono may not know what has hit him.

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