Joseph Parker going pro too young, says Newton
Has Joseph Parker switched to the professional boxing ranks too early?
New Zealand Amateur Boxing Association selector Russell Newton thinks Joseph Parker has a promising professional career ahead of him but wonders if he should have stuck it out in the amateur ranks to learn his craft.
It was confirmed yesterday that the New Zealand heavyweight boxing talent would turn professional, with his pro debut set for the undercard of the Shane Cameron-Monte Barrett bout in July.
Parker's management is likely to take tentative steps into the pro ranks, matching the 20-year-old against some lesser known fighters early in his career.
Parker had always planned to turn pro this year, but it was hoped that would come after a shot at the Olympics in August.
However, Parker, from South Auckland, along with his manager Sir Robert Jones, has sped up the process after he missed qualifying for the Olympics.
Newton – who was the New Zealand assistant coach when Parker recently won an international amateur tournament in Serbia – admitted he was disappointed to hear Parker had decided to turn pro.
Newton said it would have been nice to have seen Parker mount a campaign towards the 2016 Olympics and then have a shot at the professional ranks.
"He looks so bloody good at times. Against the German [in Serbia] he looked world class.
"If he can hook up with a good trainer, he gets structure in his life, gets the diet and the training right, the mental aspect right, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with," Newton told The Southland Times yesterday.
"There's no doubt about his ability but I really would have liked to have seen him hang around and pick up a few plums in the amateur ranks before he [turned pro], because time's on his side, it's not as if he has to rush. I would really like to see him knocking guys over because he's a big man, he hits, but his timing's not there yet."
Newton said though Parker was stepping out of the amateur ranks at such a young age, what he had done – and hopefully would continue to do – would help to boost grassroots boxing.
Parker's gold medal in Serbia, along with bronze medals to Sam Rapira and David Light, would help the New Zealand Boxing Association's case for funding from Sport New Zealand.
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