Joseph Parker makes strong start to pro career
New Zealand boxing's 'next big thing' Joseph Parker has made a winning start to his professional career after beating 38-year-old Huntly school teacher Dean Garmonsway inside two rounds at the Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland tonight.
In another one-sided affair, heavyweight Parker, who has been billed by many Kiwi boxing pundits as the future of the sport in this country, showcased his skills.
Earlier in the undercard to the Shane Cameron-Monte Barrett fight model Jaime Ridge and cricketer Jesse Ryder won their fights over Rosanna Arkle and Mark Watson respectively.
Parker was dominant from the outset and it was always a case of when and not if he would get the result.
By the midway point of the first round, the writing was already on the wall when Garmonsway began bleeding from a cut to his face.
Parker, meanwhile, didn't even appear to have worked up a sweat.
It was more of the same in the second round and after connecting with some huge punches, the referee stopped the fight one minute and 45 seconds in, awarding Parker the technical knockout and his first professional victory.
Ridge lived up to her sporting pedigree, beating reality TV star Arkle in a unanimous decision after three brutal rounds of boxing.
Billed as the 'IT Girl Fight', few gave Ridge a chance against her more fancied opponent, who adopted the novel approach of fighting in a blue bikini top.
But clearly, those who underestimated the Auckland student were mistaken and, in the space of a few short minutes, she delivered an emphatic performance to claim victory.
Scheduled to take place over three two-minute rounds, the arrival of the fighters to the ring finally had the crowd, which had up until that point had been relatively subdued throughout the night, pumping.
Ridge was first to enter the ring, but still found the time to stop along the way and give mum and fellow socialite Sally a hug.
Arkle was next, but the promised bikini looked more like a pair of hot pants and a halter neck top.
In the opening round, played out in front of at least a thousand suited patrons, it was the Kiwis legend's daughter who took the ascendency, refusing to hold back and throwing wild swings with all her might.
By the time a minute had passed, both girls appeared to have expended their energy reserves.
But with former pro Monty Betham in her corner, Ridge looked superbly trained and did well to keep her guard up amid a flurry of wild punches from Arkle.
During the second round, the contest evened out and while both boxers were obviously tired, they continued to slug it out.
Haymaker punches seemed to be the order of the day and Arkle soon started to find some rhythm.
With it all on the line in the third, Arkle started off with more energy than her opponent.
But as the end came closer and closer in sight, it was Ridge who landed the cleaner punches, twice rocking the GC star and model, who showed bravery simply to stay on her feet until the end.
The bell finally rang, bringing the crowd to their feet and it was really no surprise when Ridge was crowned the winner by unanimous decision.
RYDER DEALS TO WATSON
Next up Ryder landed a blow for media-loathing cricketers across the planet after comprehensively dealing to the outspoken sports radio host Watson.
In a predictable result, a trim-looking Ryder, who boasted a significant weight advantage and clearly had the crowd behind him, looked the goods on his way to a thoroughly one-sided win by technical knockout after one minute and 54 seconds.
On a self-imposed break from cricket, Ryder jumped at the chance a month ago when he was approached about the prospect of fighting. He initially called out former Black Cap Craig McMillan, who had described him as selfish on radio earlier in the year.
McMillan, though, wisely declined the opportunity to step in the ring but Watson, a relatively unknown but supremely opinionated radio host, proved more eager.
Stupidly so, it must be added, for he never stood a chance against the New Zealand all-rounder, who is renowned for his agility and hand eye coordination.
It took all of 20 seconds for Ryder to show his sporting prowess tonight after he knocked Watson to the canvas and it was but a mere signal of what was to come.
Twenty seconds later, he brutally clubbed Watson again, prompting a standing eight count by the referee.
Bravely, though, he stayed on his feet. But the end was well and truly in sight.
It came not long after in the dying seconds of the first round when the fight was stopped by the referee after one heavy punch too many.
“What a rush. I’ve never felt anything like that before,” Ryder said.
“I’ve trained pretty hard for this and I stuck to what I knew.
“I’m pretty glad it’s over and now I can get on with my life.”
Watson, to his credit, may have started the fight with a few boos from the crowd but proved to be a class act in defeat and by the end had won a few people over.
“That was a great experience to be perfectly honest and that’s why I did it,” he said, his face flushed red from the volley of punches it had taken.
“He was the genius and I saw the floor. It’s a dark, ugly, terrible place and I haven’t been there for a long time.”
Earlier, West Auckland middleweight Isaac Peach stopped James Uoka in the fourth round before former chef Daniel MacKinnon claimed victory over Samoan slugger Faimasasa Tavui after the latter's corner threw in the towel at the end of the first round.