Controversial boxer Richard Tutaki believes he has the skills and experience to upset New Zealand's top heavyweight prospect Joseph Parker.
Tutaki was today confirmed to fight Parker at the Fight For Life extravaganza in Auckland on December 15.
Having missed out on the chance to fight Sonny Bill Williams for the New Zealand heavyweight belt, Tutaki is determined to make the most of this opportunity.
"He's never been on this stage before," Tutaki said of 20-year-old Parker who will be in just his third fight as a professional.
"This time he's in the spotlight. All the hype and pressure just might get to him once he is in that ring with all of New Zealand watching.
"I've been there, done that. I've had over 40 fights. This will be his third. I learnt a long time ago that hype counts for nothing once you are inside those ropes. He's about to learn that lesson."
Parker wasn't fussed by Tutaki's taunts.
"The bigger the occasion the better," he said. "Richard can talk all he wants but I know that counts for nothing. I'd rather we do our talking with our hands and fists in the ring."
Tutaki has been preparing against the backdrop of a court appearance in Manukau tomorrow on two charges of breaching community work and one of escaping from police custody.
That's certainly played into the promoter's hopes of Tutaki being portrayed as the "bad guy" in a fight against New Zealand's up and comer.
Tutaki wasn't buying into that today, preferring to concentrate on his boxing skills and vast experience that totals 43 pro fights (20 wins, 22 losses, 1 draw).
The reality is that Tutaki will be a tough opponent for Parker, certainly far more of a challenge than his two wins against Dean Garmonsway and the horribly out of shape Terry Tuteru which lasted a combined three rounds.
The 34-year-old Tutaki has fought 140 rounds in a pro career dating back to 2002.
He's twice gone the distance with the respected Chauncy Welliver and has been in the ring with top Kiwi heavyweight Shane Cameron (a third round knockout loss) and Australian champ Bob Mirovic.
Tutaki looked in good shape today and says he has lost around 6kg with hard training, determined to put on a strong showing. He will enter the ring around 110kg with Parker about 5kg lighter.
This is a dangerous fight for Parker so early in his career.
Tutaki's last fight was a month ago against the respected Afa Tatupu. Tutaki was knocked out in the fifth round of a torrid affair at the Auckland Boxing Association HQ.
"The last fight was a real hard fight. It was five rounds of hell, you can't take anything away from Arthur Tatupu," Tutaki said.
"I've been doing a lot of road work, two runs a day, and core training. That's what I need."
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