Nasty cut gives Parker chance to be 'more cut'
Promising heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker will not step into the ring again until March next year but a holiday is far from the sights of the 21-year-old.
His plan to fight in Christchurch next month was ended by the nasty cut over an eye during last week's second round knockout win over Afa Tatupu.
Parker's team wants to give him as much time, and the best medical intervention, as possible to ensure the cut is healed before he fights again.
The young boxer and his trainer Kevin Barry were in Invercargill yesterday afternoon to speak with The Southland Times about what is in store next and to also show-off the New Zealand National Boxing Federation heavyweight title belt he won last week.
Barry said that despite the four and a bit months out of the ring Parker is set for a gruelling training regime when they head back to Las Vegas next week.
It won't involve any sparring but will include a lot of conditioning work as they look to take Parker's physique to another level.
"The main thing I said to Joseph is look we've had a bump in the road, but lets use this time so that when he comes back [to New Zealand] in December he comes in better shape than when he come back for the Tatupu fight. To come back bigger than he was and more cut, that's going to be the challenge," Barry said.
"The momentum we've had and the progress Joseph has had in under six months is huge. We don't want to take a backward step now, we don't want to undo what we have done.
"Even though he's not going to be sparring we need to keep building, it's only the infancy stage of his professional career."
Barry said the key thing is Parker was eager himself to do just that and it didn't take a lot to motivate the young charge to put in the hard work.
Parker was proud of the way his body had developed in the five or so months he had spent under Barry's tutelage and didn't want it to slip.
"In the training camp environment Joseph is a great trainer and I never ever have to crack the whip on him, he pushes himself hard every day. If anything I pull him back sometimes and tell him he doesn't need to do that much that day," Barry said.
"He's proud of the way his abs are and that they are taking shape now and that doesn't just happen, that's through a lot of hard work and you know they can disappear three times as fast as they come."
"It's easy for people to say you're building him up and you're saying all the right things but the proof is if he didn't push himself hard, as we say he does, you wouldn't see the development in his body like we've seen in a short time.
"Don't forget he was an amateur boxing all around the world for a long time and he never had a body like that."
Parker admits his understanding of what it took to be an elite athlete had sunk in in recent months.
He laughs when he recalls what he did after the weigh-in to his first professional fight against Dean Garmonsway in July last year which was before he linked with Barry.
"I wasn't that serious about it all and after that weigh-in I went and had Burger King and that is why my body wasn't in the shape it is now because of the wrong food I ate. I was training hard but I wasn't pushing it to the limit like I am now," Parker said.
"I have direction now from someone that's guiding me to what I have to do."
Parker's fight in March will be against Brazilian George Arias, a fight that is going to be another step up for the Kiwi prospect.
Arias' professional record stands at 43 wins and 11 losses.
"He's got a good record, he's won his last 15 fights so he's got good momentum. This is going to be a step up," Parker said.
"Kevin says that some professional fighters get a whole lot of easy beats in the beginning but I like to be tested and I'm happy they've got this opponent for me."
- © Fairfax NZ News