City 'top of list' for big-time bout

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 04/09/2013

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Duco Events boss Dean Lonergan has added fuel to the prospect of Invercargill hosting a big-time boxing card next year, saying that if everything fell into place, his organisation would make it happen.

New Zealand's rising heavyweight star Joseph Parker and his trainer Kevin Barry visited Invercargill on Monday as part of the promotion for Parker's next bout in Auckland on October 10 against Afa Tutapu. They were given a tour of the Stadium Southland redevelopment by stadium manager Nigel Skelt, which prompted Barry to say it had the potential to be as impressive as anything in the country.

Both said they would love to see Parker box in the new stadium.

Following Barry's comments, Lonergan contacted The Southland Times yesterday, saying Invercargill was at the top of their list.

Parker's next fight will be in Auckland, he is expected to fight in Christchurch in December. Nelson is being lined up to host his first fight in 2014.

So Invercargill could be eyed as a potential venue for a Parker fight in the middle of next year.

Lonergan said if it played out that way, Parker could be fighting a well-regarded international opponent, given he would have had three more fights by then.

"If we were looking at, say, June next year, it wouldn't be against an also-ran, it would be an international opponent," Lonergan said.

Duco Events also has David Tua in its stable, and venues will also need to be looked at for him when he headlines events.

However, just where his career heads next will be determined by how the 39-year-old gets on in his next bout against the world IBF No 7 heavyweight Belarusian Alexander Ustinov in Hamilton on November 16.

Lonergan planned to contact the likes of Skelt and Southland's Fight for Kidz charity boxing organisers Dave Bartley and Steve Boucher.

He said the way Southlanders supported events was a drawcard.

Barry told The Southland Times this week that the New Zealand boxing game was a different beast now than it was when he was aligned to Tua, and Parker did not need to fight overseas.

He said when Tua was progressing through the ranks he had to fight in the United States to move up the ladder, but Parker could go right through the ranks in front of his home crowd in New Zealand.

"Things have come along way since I turned David Tua pro in 1992, when we had to be fighting in America. There's practically no fighter in the world that we can not bring down here to New Zealand now. Why wouldn't I want to have that hometown advantage?" Barry said.

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- The Southland Times

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