Be dominant. Be imposing. Fight like a big man. Own the ring. This was Joseph Parker's checklist and with a seventh round TKO win over experienced American Brian Minto he ticked all the boxes and more in Manukau last night.
Parker said he would make Minto look like a little man and he delivered.
"I executed the plan we put in place and my coach is very happy," Parker said. "I told everyone I was going to be lean and mean. I'm going to go home and celebrate this victory. We've developed speed and power but we're still at the beginning stages."
The rising South Auckland heavyweight set the tone by establishing his distance with a fast left jab. Minto struggled to get inside - there was virtually no sign of his come forward approach - and after a tentative start was forced to constantly lunge forward off balance.
Anyone who has followed Parker's rapid rise has seen his power and speed but this was a performance founded on patience and discipline. It showed he can fight to a game-plan and execute against a quality opponent.
"The public of New Zealand can be very proud of how much he's matured in the last six months," trainer Kevin Barry said. "He's going to be something very special."
Parker was tested at times - Minto caught him with glancing blows - but for the most part he was in total control over the 12-year veteran.
The 22-year-old knocked Minto down in the fifth round and then opened his arms. After rocking him again in the seventh Minto did not return as his corner threw in the towel. The eighth, ninth and 10th rounds were not needed; Parker had finished the job and his home crowd responded by chanting his name.
The WBO Oriental and WBA PABA titles are now his - and you get a sense there will be plenty more to come, too.
Having been knocked down twice, Minto knew at the end of the seventh round he had no chance of winning. He also confirmed he had carried a broken nose - suffered in sparring just last week - into the fight.
"He's big strong and fast. I'm very impressed with his skills," Minto said. "He's a good prospect. Fighting a 22-year-old kid is tough. I've got two beautiful children and a wife at home. I do have a broken nose and I lied to everyone. My dad is on his death bed and this is my livelihood."
With another vicious display, this time on the undercard, Robert Berridge left no doubt about his credentials, either.
New Zealand's premier light heavyweight made good on his promise and wasted little time disposing of Rogerio Damasco, flooring the second-rate Brazilian twice in the first round to secure his 20th career knockout.
For good measure, he also broke Damasco's nose.
"It came pretty quick," Berridge said, barley a bead of sweat on his brow. "I said I was going to rip his face off."
Berridge is chasing a world title fight with undefeated Russian WBO champion Sergey Kovalev. This effort, along with the retention of his WBO Asia Pacific and PABA titles, will only enhance the chances of that match-up happening and his drawcard potential. With a record that now stands at (24-1-1), his destructive punching power is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook.
Australian welterweight Jeff Horn also made an immediate impression with his first appearance in New Zealand.
With a completely dominant point's win (120-107) over durable Brazilian Fernando Ferreira de Silva (32-3-1), the Brisbane schoolteacher claimed the WBO Oriental and WBA PABA titles and took his record to 8-0, despite fighting through the pain of a broken hand suffered in the sixth of 12 rounds.
Horn was on trial and is now sure to be added to Duco's growing boxing stable.
Throughout the brutal brawl, Horn showcased his lethal right hook, impressive hand speed, fast combinations, relentless pressure and elusive qualities. He stalked de Silva all over the ring but had to wait until the final round to record an inevitable knockdown.
Lightening quick hands were also the feature as promising Kiwi light heavyweight Nikolas Charalampous extended his unbeaten pro career to eight fights.
North Shore-based Charalampous had Sydney's Aaron Lai in trouble from the outset. Lai took plenty of punishment, particularly from Charalampous' left hand, which resulted in standing counts in the first, third, fourth and final sixth rounds.
Handing Lai, who was previously 6-0, his first defeat shows Charalampous is building his career nicely, having only turned pro last year.
Tipping the scales at a whopping 168kg, Dave "Brown Butterbean" Letele and Manu Vatuvei's older brother, Lopini "Horse" Vatuvei, put on a genuine slug-fest. This was a free-for-all of flurries from the get-go with some heavy shots landed by both fighters. Letele, carrying a 54kg weight advantage, won by split decision.
Earlier, DJ Tuini won an underwhelming fight with fellow reality television rival Jade Louise.
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