Parker has top tune-up ahead of Botha bout

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 18/05/2013
Joseph Parker
PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX NZ
BIG IMPROVEMENTS: Joseph Parker says he is a fitter and smarter boxer ahead of his fight with Francois Botha.

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Trainer Kevin Barry was delighted with Joseph Parker's tune-up bout in Los Angeles yesterday for many reasons.

The obvious one was that the promising young heavyweight came through with a convincing unanimous points win over countryman Brice Ritani-Cole.

Parker won every one of the six three-minute rounds by a convincing margin, leaving Ritani-Cole battered at the end.

Barry said his young charge put together some outstanding combinations in the contest and looked sharp.

The other key reason why Barry was delighted was Parker got six much-needed rounds under his belt.

Barry had struggled to find a suitable opponent for a tune-up bout at this time of Parker's career.

He wanted someone who wasn't too risky, given Parker is weeks out from a showdown with Frans Botha, but he also wanted someone who was durable enough to provide Parker with some time in the ring rather than folding early.

In Ritani-Cole the Parker camp got just what it wanted, with Barry paying plenty of respect to him after the fight.

Parker himself was pleased with what he got out of the fight.

The focus will now quickly return to the main event - the showdown with South African Botha in Auckland on June 13.

"This win was a good confidence boost," Parker said.

"That was the first time I'd done six rounds and my fitness was great.

"I'm going to improve from here and I'm going to get even fitter and get more skills and experience.

"I'm really looking forward to the fight in June."

Ritani-Cole had a 16-fight amateur career in New Zealand before heading to live in Las Vegas five years ago.

He has been mixing boxing with mixed martial arts fights recently and he was viewed as a good buildup to the Botha fight for Parker because of similarities in body type.

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