Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Joseph Parker's shot at title set for 'hell of fight'

The manager of Charles Martin, the man who lost his IBF world heavyweight boxing title belt to Anthony Joshua in his first defence, says Joseph Parker has an excellent chance of beating the Englishman when the pair collide in what he is predicting to be a "hell of a fight".

Mike Borao, a New York-based attorney, told the Weekend Herald he had watched closely the rise of New Zealander Parker and said the 24-year-old was on the right track to reach "something special".

Parker fights Russian Alexander Dimitrenko at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre next Saturday, a bout designed to prepare him for his mandatory challenge against Joshua.

On Tuesday (NZT), Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn will announce the opponent for his fighter's second title defence in Manchester on November 26.

Parker will either be named on the main event or on the undercard to fight Englishman David Price, and going by Hearn's recent comments that Parker is his preferred opponent, it's increasingly likely it will be sooner rather than later, although Hughie Fury, cousin of WBO and WBA champion Tyson, is also in the frame to fight Joshua.

Borao, ringside at London's O2 Arena in April when Joshua knocked out his man Martin in the second round, said Parker had the talent and support to fulfil his dream.

"I still don't know how good Joshua's chin is and I know that Joe punches hard enough to knock anyone out," Borao said.

"I don't think he's a devastating puncher like a David Tua or a George Foreman, but he hits hard enough that if he lands one right the other guy will go to sleep.

"The only reason it's not a coin flip is that Joshua has shown a little bit more at the higher level.

"But it's a close fight. I think Joe has an excellent chance to win that fight."

Borao said California-based Martin - recovering after being shot in a random act of violence in Los Angeles last month - underestimated Joshua to his peril. "Joshua is very dedicated, he's a very hard worker, and physically he's an unbelievable specimen. And frankly, now that he's won the title and made a defence, and got an entire country behind him, it's all lining up for him.

"About 95 per cent of the work is done before the fight and five per cent during the fight, which makes his work ethic a huge advantage. But the same things could be said of Joe."

IBF champion Anthony Joshua. Photo / Photosport
IBF champion Anthony Joshua. Photo / Photosport

Should Parker fight Price in November, and remain undefeated, he would face Joshua in London in March.

However, Borao urged Parker and his handlers Duco Events to be wary of Price, a warning repeated by Sir Bob Jones, a former mentor of Parker's.

"If it were me, I'd be a little nervous going into the David Price fight," Borao said. "He's a very dangerous guy ... the big thing about David Price is that he punches very, very hard."

Jones, a boxing identity who has previously criticised the standard of Parker's opponents, said: "David Price could give him a scare. Price is competent. He obviously isn't very durable but he's got a hell of a right hand, and Joseph can be hit. It's all very well saying he takes a punch well, which he does, but if he got nailed by Price he'd be over."

Both men also said 34-year-old Dimitrenko, who has lost twice in 40 professional fights, could provide a good test for Parker.

"It's very smart I think." Borao said. "The one thing Dimitrenko lacks is confidence, and Joe, his confidence should be through the roof. I think he's going to be a little overwhelmed in Parker's backyard. A young, strong guy like Parker coming at him, I think at some point in the fight he's going to realise 'hey, this kid is too young, too big and too strong' and that's going to be that."

Jones said: "I think the guy could give him a very good contest. Joseph is very aggressive right from the outset which is probably desirable, although I did urge him a couple of years ago to take more of a chess match approach. I think he is more calculating now but is very, very relentless, he goes after his opponent steadfastly which he will have to do with this bloke.

"Joseph is a hunter now, he goes after them."

- NZ Herald

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