Parker to fight in US within a month
Before Joseph Parker even entered the ring last night, confidence within his camp was clearly sky high.
So high, in fact, plans were already afoot to match him with another opponent within one month in America.
While some wondered aloud whether throwing Parker in with Brian Minto, a 12-year veteran who just last December put away Shane Cameron in such emphatic fashion, was a major risk, those close to him never harboured any doubts.
''Let's remember about four or five weeks ago a lot of people were of the opinion that this was the wrong fight; that Minto was going to blow Joe away,'' trainer Kevin Barry said after Parker's clinical and composed seventh round TKO in Manukau last night.
''We know he [Minto] was in great condition and he never won a round. I think Joseph silenced a lot of critics.''
Improving his unbeaten pro record to 9-0, the complete shutout was exactly what Parker's handlers desired.
In his buoyant post-fight changing room Parker was buzzing - the adrenaline still pumping through his veins after such an impressive and disciplined display that left him with a blemish-free face.
''It was a big step up,'' Parker said.
''Minto is a great fighter. He's very experienced and has been in the ring with some big names. He trained hard for this fight. He was trim and looked a lot better than when he fought Shane Cameron.''
Minto joined a chorus of outsiders begging Duco and Barry not to rush the South Auckland 22-year-old, but aggressive plans to give Parker a world title shot within 18 months will be pursued.
''Joseph is a young fast kid and I give him much respect,'' Minto said, blood flowing steadily from a broken nose he admitted carrying into the fight.
''He's a helluva prospect. I just hope Duco don't try move him too fast and put him in something that maybe he's not ready for straight away. I think he needs to keep moving up gradually and keep fighting guys that have experience to get him the experience he needs.
''He's only going to get better. He's got fast hands and he punches hard. He's long and he's learning.
''9-0, he could fight some guys and get some more experience rather than trying to get to a world title shot within a year. That's kind of a little far fetched for him. He needs to step up and fight more experienced opposition; someone that's not too tough.''
Within five minutes of Minto's plea, however, plans were laid out for Parker to fight on the East Coast of America next month. His opponent will be announced next week.
''There will be another big fight in a month's time,'' Duco promoter David Higgins said.
''We're going to put the accelerator down and Joe will probably be offshore getting some exposure in the United States.
''We've been criticised about every fight we've made; from Francios Botha to Afa Tatupu. Joseph has done the business every time. We'll continue what we're doing. This will be someone like Joe, someone who has had fewer fights but has won nearly all of them.''
With his maturing prodigy having executed the big man plan to perfection, Barry seemed comfortable with the short turnaround.
''We are well aware of that,'' he said.
'That's why it was very important tonight Joe never got hands put on him. He came through the fight unscathed. His level of conditioning at the moment is very good, the best it's ever been.
"He wasn't breathing hard at all at the end of the fight. The opponent we'll be fighting won't be the equivalent of a Brian Minto, but it will be an opponent in ways that we're trying to test him.''