Boxing: Where now for Joseph Parker, after Duco Events split?

Duco's Dean Lonergan and David Higgins with New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker. Photo/Photosport
Duco's Dean Lonergan and David Higgins with New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker. Photo/Photosport

Prominent boxing commentator Mike Angove is lamenting the Duco Events break-up as a major loss to the sport and events promotion in New Zealand.

But he also sees the split as a sign it's time for world heavyweight boxing champion Joseph Parker to head overseas to pursue his future fortunes.

Last night, Duco directors Dean Lonergan and David Higgins confirmed rumours that they were parting company, after 13 years in business together.

They can count among their achievements the establishment of the NRL Auckland Nines and Brisbane Global Rugby Tens, the staging of several celebrity black-tie dinners and the rise of Parker as a force on the professional boxing stage.

"It's an incredibly sad situation for New Zealand boxing," Angove told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch. "They've been a very slick unit and, in many ways, they've complemented each other very well, so it's disappointing and it's sad.

"I guess the marriage has hit rocky patches and they can't move on from it."

As the pair try to amicably divide company assets, the most pressing concern is how this break-up will impact on Parker's rise through the heavyweight ranks, as he seeks to unite the division's major belts.

Parker won the WBO title last October, defeating Andy Ruiz Jnr by majority decision, and defended it against Romanian Razvan Cojanu earlier this month, albeit in unconvincing fashion.

Both bouts were staged in Auckland.

In retrospect, Angove thinks the Duco fallout probably affected Parker's performance against Cojanu.

"I think yes, absolutely," he told Veitch. "If you're aware of something like this going on, it can take away from your energy and just two per cent makes a difference at top level.

"He is being slated for the bout and I've been on record as saying it wasn't a great performance, but he was never in danger of losing.

"He took 11 of 12 rounds quite clearly and took the other round off, so for a guy who is performing well below par, he's still winning."

Most of the world's top heavyweights fare challenging Parker for his crown and his next fight will likely take place offshore, either the United States or England.

"In many ways, I think the best thing for Joe is heading offshore for his next events," said Angove. "Then he can just take care of the business of fighting and being a single fighter on the card, even if he's a main-event fighter.

"Here, there's a lot more responsibility he has to bear on his shoulders, being a very big fish in a small pond of New Zealand."

The big question will be who Parker chooses to guide his career from now on - Lonergan, Higgins or someone else altogether.

"It's a hard thing to comment on, because we're not privy to the internal conversations that they're having," said Angove. "I think, as a fighter, what it comes down to is trust.

"If you're analysing the two guys in terms of what they bring to the table, they're quite different personalities.

"Both are extremely entrepreneurial. Deano is fantastic at getting out, doing the deals, making the noise, making it happen and being very much a front man.

"Dave Higgins is a conceptual kind of guy, a very conceptual thinker, who strategises and thinks very big over a long term. It depends on how you might evaluate that as a fighter."

Rumour has it that Parker is closer to Higgins, but whichever option he choses, Angove is full of admiration for the job Lonergan and Higgins have done as a team.

"The thing you've got to say is they've given it a crack," he told Veitch. "Who would have thought Parker would have a world title fight?

"People tend to remember the failures, but they conveniently forget the successes along the way.

"No-one else has put their cajones on the line here. It's been Duco that's done that, and it involves a lot of risk, a lot of investment and there is a risk of failure, particularly in New Zealand, which is a very, very small market.

"Probably, they've reached their potential in terms of Joseph. It was probably one fight, with a difficult build-up, too long, in terms of our population being able to sustain it.

"They've done some really great work together. Both of them, prior to coming into Duco as a formal arrangement, also did some good work, but it was the synergy between the pair that I think has been remarkable ... the sum being greater than the parts."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 31 May 2017 00:37:01 Processing Time: 499ms