Boxing underdog, but 'Tank' stands defiant

SQUARING OFF: Boxers Joseph Parker and Sherman 'The Tank' Williams in Palmerston North to promote their fight later in the year.
SQUARING OFF: Boxers Joseph Parker and Sherman 'The Tank' Williams in Palmerston North to promote their fight later in the year.

With all of New Zealand barracking against him, Bahaman heavyweight boxer Sherman "The Tank" Williams is keen to show what he can do against Kiwi Joseph Parker.

Parker and Williams were in Palmerston North yesterday promoting their fight in Auckland in October.

With most people backing Kiwi favourite Parker to win, Williams said most New Zealanders saw him as the underdog, a motivating factor.

"People don't recognise my ring generalship and experience," Williams said.

"I've been in the fire, I've been in the doghouse and I've been in all-out wars."

Williams has a solid record of 36 wins, including 19 knockouts, 13 losses and two draws and, as Parker simply puts it, "he's had more knockouts than I've had fights".

The pair were originally meant to fight in Germany in April. Williams had been training with Wladimir Klitschko, but was kicked out of Klitschko's training camp following differences of opinion, and Parker ended up fighting Marcelo Nascimento.

Williams started negotiations with Parker's camp afterwards and has been training since.

"Seeing as this fight with Joseph Parker is back on, it gives me a great satisfaction . . . it all points to a great opportunity to redeem myself and I'm coming here now to take care of business."

The 41-year-old was last in the ring in October when he beat Earl Ladson in North Carolina, but said his fitness is coming along well and will be even better once he's finished training at his base in Florida.

"No losing for me," Williams said.

Parker, 22, has beaten Brian Minto and Keith Thompson in the past two months. The win over Thompson in Pennsylvania was important because it garnered interest from television networks HBO and Showtime.

"This will be the biggest fight of my career," Parker said. "The reason I say that is every other fight [I've had] so far has been the biggest fight of my career and they have been at that stage."

Parker, who was flying to Las Vegas tonight for a seven-week training camp, said Sherman had an impressive record and had fought at the top level.

Parker said Williams has power and a big punch so he and trainer Kevin Barry, who has been studying Williams' style, will have to cook up some tactics.

"People say ‘you're going to win this easy'," Parker said. "If they research and look at his fights, he is a dangerous opponent and it's a risk for us.

"The reason we took this fight is because I've got to be tested all of the way."

He had to be challenged by fighting opponents who were better than him.

Parker has a record of nine wins with eight knockouts from his nine bouts and was keen to keep his run going. "Give me seven weeks and I'll be firing. All engines on go."

If all goes well, Parker should have another fight in December.

Williams believes victory in this fight would get him back on the boxing scene and he was keen on fighting Klitschko, who, he said, isn't that great.

Williams worked with brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko for eight years and said that if Alex Leapai could get a fight, why not him.

Manawatu Standard