Parker falls in love with stadium

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2013
Joseph Parker
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker, left, Stadium Southland manager Nigel Skelt and boxing trainer Kevin Barry chat about the Stadium Southland redevelopment yesterday.

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High-profile boxing trainer Kevin Barry admits to being blown away with the Stadium Southland redevelopment, saying it has the potential to be the best in the country and next year could hold a Joseph Parker bout, if Barry has his way.

Barry and Parker - New Zealand's rising heavyweight star - visited Invercargill yesterday and talked with The Southland Times as part of a promotion for Parker's next fight against fellow New Zealand heavyweight Afa Tatupu, on October 10, in Auckland.

During their couple of hours in the city, the pair were given a guided tour of the Stadium Southland redevelopment by stadium manager Nigel Skelt and saw the potential in it hosting a Parker fight next year.

"This would be great for boxing," Parker said as he stood in the iddle of the construction site yesterday. "I would love to fight in here."

Barry said they wanted to showcase the 21-year-old's ability throughout New Zealand, which meant they would look to hold fights outside Auckland.

After Parker's next bout against Tatupu, in Auckland, it is likely he will box in Christchurch later this year and in other New Zealand cities next year.

The plan is to put together a four-fight programme for Parker next year, and the likelihood is those fights will be held in different parts of the country.

Barry was scheduled to meet Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio last night to chat about the prospect of taking a fight there, and yesterday's visit to Stadium Southland has him now wanting Invercargill on the list as well.

"The new stadium is state of the art, and is as impressive as anything in the country," Barry said.

"I would love to bring Joseph down here, he has fans in the south and I know they would come out and support him. He's not just a Auckland fighter, we want Joseph to fight all around New Zealand."

Parker's promoters, Duco Events, have previously highlighted Invercargill as a place they think would support a big-time boxing card.

They had floated the idea about a possible David Tua or Shane Cameron bout in the city this year but the delay in building the stadium halted those thoughts.

Duco Events brought the Graham Henry tribute dinner to Invercargill last year which sold out with relative ease.

Meanwhile, as expected, Parker is confident heading into his next bout against Tatupu saying he will be an even better fighter than the one that destroyed South African Frans Botha, in Auckland, in June.

He said with another camp in Las Vegas with Barry under his belt he feels he has made big strides.

"Before the Botha fight it was the first time we had trained together. There were a lot of things I needed to change, my skills weren't up to standard, my fitness wasn't up there and we had such a short time together, we couldn't do a lot," Parker said.

"But now going back to Vegas and training for another seven weeks, I've added more weapons and people are going to see them on on October 10."

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- The Southland Times

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