Joseph Parker agrees to fight Francois Botha

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 11:32 26/02/2013
Joseph Parker
Getty
GOOD FORM: Joseph Parker has three wins from three fights in his fledgling professional career.
Francois Botha
FRANCOIS BOTHA: The South African boxer recently lost to Sonny Bill Williams in a controversial bout in Brisbane.

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Rising Kiwi heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker and controversial South African Francois Botha have "agreed to terms" for a fight in New Zealand in May.

It's a fight that has seen Parker's manager Sir Bob Jones quit over the suitability of pitching the youngster against Botha, especially after Botha's recent controversy-filled fight with Sonny Bill Williams in Australia.

Parker is now searching for a specialist sports management company to handle his affairs.

But Parker's promoters Duco Events are pushing on with a Botha fight, believing Botha will draw attention while also presenting the necessary lift in opposition for the 21-year-old New Zealander.

"We are dealing with Botha's representative and have agreed terms. We have been talking to them for a few weeks now. We just need to get the contract squared away" said David Higgins of Duco Events.Auckland or Hamilton are likely venues.

Higgins said the 44-year-old Botha "ticked all the boxes" from a promotional perspective. While Botha's loss to Williams was dogged by allegations of match-fixing, doping and bribery, Higgins believed the veteran had still shown he could box.

"We respect Sir Bob and his opinions. He is a bit of a purist when it comes to opponent selection," Higgins said.

"We, as well as looking at that side of it, also look at the promotional side. Obviously there is a show business, entertainment element and to have a really big show which enables us to pay Joseph the big purse, we need to tick the entertainment, showmanship type box as well as look for a quality opponent. I think Mr Botha ticks both of those boxes."

Botha will remain a common name in Kiwi boxing circles this year. He and Williams have reportedly agreed to a rematch in South Africa in December.

Meanwhile, Higgins said his company had no interest in managing Parker.

"We are a promoter. We don't want to be the manager. In my view being manager and promoter creates a conflict of interest. In my view Joseph does need independent management of his own choosing.

"He's talking to a prominent rugby player manager who offers legal services and runs the day-to-day affairs of top sports stars. That could be a good solution for Joseph.

"Hopefully Bob is still available for some advice. I think Bob has been good for Joseph - smartening up the wardrobe, general politeness. If Joseph wins some fights and makes a bit of money, Bob might be a good person to give some advice on how he might invest it.

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"Joseph is philosophical about it and obviously very grateful to Bob for his help so far. But I guess now it is a new phase."

Parker, who has easily won his first three fights after turning professional in the wake of missing out on last year's Olympics, fights little-known Kiwi Dontay Pati in Christchurch on Thursday night.

"It's a tune-up fight to keep Joseph busy," Higgins said, maintaining their plan to keep Parker busy with up to eight fights a year at this early stage of his career.

- Fairfax Media

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