Boxing: Joseph Parker well equipped for Haumono bout

By Kris Shannon in Christchurch

New Zealand Heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker v French Cameroon boxer Carlos Takam. Photo / File
New Zealand Heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker v French Cameroon boxer Carlos Takam. Photo / File

Joseph Parker might be prevented from boxing his way to a win over Solomon Haumono, an opponent hoping to turn the sweet science into a scrap.

But if the Australian succeeds in that plan in Christchurch on Thursday night, Parker's preparation with trainer Kevin Barry means he will be well equipped to cope.

"The last time I was roughed up was by Kev in the gym," Parker joked ahead of the transtasman showdown. "If [Haumono] is going to try and rough me up, I'm ready for it.

"I know how to control my emotions in the ring, so if he tries to make it a dog fight I'm prepared for that. It's a challenge that I'm ready for and excited for."

It's a challenge that has been overlooked by many charting Parker's path to the top of the heavyweight ranks, understandably so given the looming spectre of a guaranteed world title shot against Anthony Joshua.

But the Parker camp was keen to downplay suggestions Haumono was merely a way for the young Kiwi to remain in fighting shape ahead of greater challenges to follow.

"We are taking this fight very seriously," Barry said. "This is not a keep-busy fight - this is a fight that means a lot to us and a fight that we have prepared very well for."

Most of the preparation would have entailed fixing flaws that became apparent during Parker's unanimous decision over Carlos Takam in May. Those blemishes largely came on defence - a tendency of Parker's to drop his hands, creating better angles when moving backwards - and that aspect will again be tested at Horncastle Arena.

"We're not going to stand there and box him," said Haumono's trainer Justin Fortune, who worked with Manny Pacquiao before linking with the former league player. "Styles make fights - we're a fighter, Joseph's a boxer and that's the way it's going to be."

There was one key reason for Parker to be wary of that clash in style. Haumono, like Joshua, has tremendous power in his right hand, having utilised it to collect 21 knockouts in his 28-fight professional career.

Fortune even claimed his charge hits as hard as George Foreman and, while such an assessment was far from subjective, that attribute has earned Parker's respect.

"He throws his punches like he's going to try knock you out with bad intentions," Parker said. "That's the danger that he presents so we have to stay focused and not let our guard down in any part of the fight. As soon as you do that, he'll hurt you."

Parker should be able to rely on his height and reach advantage to inflict a bit of hurt of his own, though he voiced no preference between again going the distance or adding to his 16 career KOs.

"I'm prepared to go 12 rounds and I'm prepared to go one round," he said. "I just want to go in there and box, be smart and do my thing, and if the knockout comes it'll be a great night."​

- NZ Herald

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