Joseph Parker called on to showcase his skills

BY DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:24 04/08/2014
Joseph Parker
Getty
GUN SHOW: Kiwi fighter Joseph Parker will be looking for a fast start against American Keith Thompson on Sunday.

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A bigger right hand and more action in general - those are the demands trainer Kevin Barry is placing on Kiwi heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker for his American fight on Sunday.

Parker fights little known American Keith Thompson in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and with the fight being televised across the United States, Barry is demanding an eye-catching performance from his unbeaten 22-year-old.

Parker is coming off what Barry believes was the best performance of his young professional career with his seventh round knockout of Brian Minto in Auckland a month ago.

It was a measured performance, based around a strong left jab and patience before Parker's power overwhelmed the American veteran.

Barry wants a show from the word go against Thompson, a 33-year-old with a 7-2 record.

"I want Joe to blind him with his hand speed," Barry said.

"I'm loving the way his left jab is coming along but we also know he can bang with his right hand and I want Joe to throw it more in this fight.

"I want it all from the word go in this fight. There is no way we want Keith Thompson to get any early confidence so that means I want Joe to get busy early."

With Parker having won eight of his nine fights early, Barry would love his knockout ability to be shown in this fight, especially with the TV audience.

Barry says they know "a little" about Thompson. He was a big, fit boxer with the same number of fights as Parker. They expected him to come forward which would be "perfect" for Parker, presenting him with a clear target.

Thompson has been hand-picked for this clash, one of 10 fighters approved by Barry as they looked at opponents who could fight at short notice. With a fight already booked back home against Sherman Williams, the Thompson fight is merely a side dish though, again, impressing the lucrative American market is crucial.

"There's no way we will under-estimate anyone," Barry said.

"Thompson beat a guy (American Leon Dukes) who was 7-0 and lost to a guy (Ameridcan Alexis Santos) who was 8-0. Jo is his third undefeated opponent ... he's not afraid to step up. So there's no way we can allow him to get any confidence and get going."

After some belated training in Las Vegas after his delayed departure from New Zealand, Parker switches coasts today to base himself at the fight venue, the Sands Casino and Resort.

New Zealand light-heavyweight Robbie Berridge fights Russian champion Vasily Lepikhim on the same card.

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* Duncan Johnstone was flown to the United States by Duco Promotions.

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