Boxing promoter eyes bout for star

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 12:30 27/07/2013

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International fight promoter Dean Lonergan has confirmed he will look to stage a bout for heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in Nelson next year in what would be Parker's "toughest fight to date".

The fight would be a continuation of a heavy schedule over the next five months for Parker, who has four dates confirmed.

Beginning with a fight on the David Tua undercard on August 31, Lonergan said the other dates for fights were October 12 in Auckland, November 22 in Christchurch and December 14 at Auckland's Fight for Life.

A potential followup fight in Nelson in March or April was discussed at a meeting held yesterday between Lonergan, of Duco Events, Fight for Victory organisers Paul Hampton and Barry Galbraith, and Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio.

The inaugural Fight for Victory charity boxing event, held in June this year, was met with widespread acclaim for the spectacle the 13-bout card provided for the sellout crowd at Trafalgar Centre.

Lonergan said, with that base to work from, in combination with Duco Events, the next Fight for Victory, headlined by Parker, would attract "a minimum" 500,000-strong pay-per-view audience.

"This would be a massive fight," said Lonergan. In six to eight months' time, Joseph is going to be a much bigger star in New Zealand than he is now.

"If we can get it down here it would be Joseph's toughest fight to date.

"We've got about four fights between now and Christmas planned for Joe, and every time he fights he will be a bigger and bigger media star.

"We would probably come down here when Joseph fights and probably 20 or 30 national media would follow. There would be a significant audience come to town."

Lonergan said it was a "very active schedule" for the 21-year-old, but the belief is that more fights will help Parker while he is perfecting his craft.

"Joseph is really on the rise, Kevin [trainer Kevin Barry] is doing a great job and we really want to fight him around the country, so we would really love to fight him down in Nelson."

At the opening of the new Victory Boxing Gym last night, made possible by money raised at Fight for Victory last month, foundation fighter Mr Miccio said the fight had his backing.

"The business case for the proposal looks very strong and now it is just a matter of working through the details," Mr Miccio said.

"We discussed the possibility of this happening every year as a major event, with Parker or someone of his calibre here every year.

"Nelson, potentially, could become one of the homes of boxing in the country."

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Discussion will continue over the coming months with a final decision expected during that time.

Plan booms, P12.

- The Nelson Mail

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