The undercard to the Joseph Parker v Andy Ruiz Jr heavyweight title fight has been described as the best to be held in New Zealand, so spare a thought for John Parker, Joseph's younger brother, who is in the first televised bout set for a worldwide audience of millions.

John, 22, who has been training in Christchurch under Bryan Barry, brother of Joseph's trainer Kevin, for the past six weeks, will fight Cantabrian Ash McConville over four rounds at Vector Arena in Auckland.

The younger Parker, who fought extensively as an amateur, will fight at a catchweight 94kg, although as he is weighing about 85kg now, will probably tip the scales at about 87kg. His future is in the light heavyweight division (limit 81kg) and, given he is fighting in front of boxing luminaries such as Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, a better way to promote it is hard to imagine.

"He realises how lucky he is to be involved in this, but he knows there's a wee bit of pressure on him because he's Joseph's brother - that goes with the territory," Bryan Barry said. "But he's a bit like Joe, nothing's really a problem, they take it in their stride."
John's professional debut was on the undercard of Joseph's fight against Alexander Dimitrenko in Manukau in October, a majority decision over Ratu Dawai from Christchurch.


"He was a credible opponent [but] I just think he [Parker] didn't do the basics," Barry said. "He didn't move his feet, he was looking to load up with every shot. He's actually got a really good jab and I intend to showcase that jab in two weeks' time. He's got a jab that's very similar to Joe's - he's fast."

Parker is training three times a day, starting with a 6am run. It is a regime which has come as a bit of a shock, said Barry, but he is coping well with it. He has lost five kilograms and could easily shed an extra four to make light heavyweight.

He wasn't quite as easygoing about the recent South Island earthquakes, however. Staying at Barry's home in the suburb of Casebrook, Parker wasn't prepared for what many Cantabrians have been going through for the past six years.

"It gave him a hell of a shock," Barry said. "He came downstairs and wanted to run outside, but I told him to just stay inside and that he'd be okay. We've done an earthquake drill now so he knows what to do."

Also on the card is rising Auckland heavyweight Junior Fa and Jeff Horn, the Australian welterweight ranked No2 with the WBO. Fellow Australian Shannon O'Connell, a top bantamweight fighting for an Asia Pacific title, is also on the card.

"Jeff Horn could be only a couple of fights away from a world title shot," promoter Dean Lonergan said. "His opponent Ali Funeka is unusual. He is a 6ft 1in welterweight.

Although Jeff will be fighting in front of a TV audience of millions, he really has an audience of one. Ringside will be Bob Arum, the promoter of welterweight stars Jesse Vargas, Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley."

Fight card December 10, Vector Arena

Bout 1

John Parker (Akl, NZ) v Ash McConville (Chch, NZ)
Catchweight (94kg) - 4 x 3 minute rounds.

Bout 2

Junior Fa (Akl, NZ) v Pablo Magrini (Argentina)
Heavyweight - 8 x 3 minute rounds.

Bout 3

Shannon "Shotgun" O'Connell (Qld, Australia) v Laura Griffa (Argentina)
WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight Title - 8 x 2 minute rounds.

Bout 4

Isaac "Royal Storm" Dogboe (Ghana) v Julian Aristule (Argentina)
WBO Latin and international super bantamweight title - 10 x 3 minute rounds.

Bout 5 - main undercard

Jeff "The Hornet" Horn (Qld, Australia) v Ali "Rush Hour" Funeka (South Africa)
WBO intercontinental welterweight title - 10 x 3 minute rounds.

Bout 6 - main event

Joseph Parker (Akl, NZ) v Andy "The Destroyer" Ruiz Jr (Mexico)
WBO world heavyweight title - 12 x 3 minute rounds.