Cameron could be next up for Parker

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 04:21 14/06/2013
Joseph Parker and Francois Botha
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ Zoom
It's lights out for Francois Botha after a flurry of Joseph Parker punches.
Joseph Parker
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
SBW NEXT?: Bring on SBW, forget about David Tua but don't rule out Shane Cameron for Joseph Parker's next bout.

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Bring on Sonny Bill Williams, forget about David Tua but don't rule out Shane Cameron - those were the immediate thoughts of the Joseph Parker camp after the young Kiwi heavyweight boxer's stunning second round demolition of South African veteran Frans Botha last night.

After a dominant first round, Parker caught Botha on the ropes and finished him off with a furious flurry, that proved not only his noted hand speed but also some new-found power.

Having got through that tricky assignment with impressive ease in Auckland, the obvious question is: Where to now for the 21-year-old?

Initially the boxer and his trainer Kevin Barry were cautious, saying they would digest the performance and ramifications of this victory and assess their future.

When pressed about a clash with Williams, the league-star-turned-All-Black-turned-league-star who has the New Zealand heavyweight title, Parker admitted: "Yeah, if the opportunity comes, I'd take it."

But once promoter Dean Lonergan stepped into the fray, the talk predictably got more excited.

"The honest truth is, we'd take Sonny Bill tomorrow but he will run like a little girl, especially after this performance," Lonergan said.

"What you saw tonight was how real fighters fight and what you saw six months ago with Sonny Bill Williams and Francois Botha was how footballers fight.

"It's a guy who is a boxer and a guy who is a part-time boxer. We'd like to make the Sonny Bill Williams fight but Khoder Nasser (his manager) would never do it because Joseph would destroy him.

"We'll call Sonny Bill out, we'll talk to Khoder Nasser ... but I think we have a lot of options."

They don't include Tua though, New Zealand's most successful modern heavyweight who is training for a comeback.

Lonergan felt Tua "whether he's 40 or 50" possessed too much danger with his one-off punching power to risk Parker at this early stage of his pro career, which has progressed quickly through six wins but went up a notable notch last night.

"I think Joseph would knock out anyone in New Zealand with the exception of David Tua. But I don't see the sense in two south Auckland boys going at each other either."

Lonergan's "personal opinion" was that Cameron could "be there for the taking".

Cameron is considering his future after losing his world cruiserweight title chance last year and a lucrative payday may be tempting.

"Kevin (Barry) knows the world backwards, we'll talk through things with him. But I think this performance goes a long way to justify the investment we have made in Joseph," Lonergan said.

Botha believed Parker would comfortably beat Williams, because of his extensive amateur background, his impressive hand speed and increasing confidence.

"I could see he had no fear, he was very calm, he caught me good," Botha conceded.

Parker may well have ended the 62-fight career of Botha. The 44-year-old didn't rule out continuing but believed his boxing focus would now switch to a promoter's role in South Africa.

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"There comes a time ...," the wounded White Buffalo lamented.

Parker, meanwhile was thrilled with his effort. He said the hard work he had done in his Las Vegas camp had paid off.

He had taken his time in the first round to explore Botha and then got the word from Barry to go on the attack when the opportunity arose. It didn't take long ... much shorter than the time it took a stunned Botha to recover after the referee had declared the fight over with the TKO that left the big South African slumped on the canvas leaning against the ropes, clearly dazed.

"I went in there relaxed and confident. When the opportunity presented itself I took it. I knew when to pounce ... when he lunges, we had studied his videos and I worked on the overhand right.

"I'm really proud and happy."

Of his power he said: "I'm still working on it, but I'm getting there."

Barry said the decisive punches proved the development of Parker, where he rolled his knuckles into the impact position.

"For those people who said Joseph Parker has no power, they might want to think about what they saw. He has a lot of power. His speed adds to his power."

Barry had been hesitant about this fight but was quickly at ease in his corner last night.

"When Joseph came back after the first round, I said, 'Joseph, this is an easy fight for you, just take your time and look for the openings because they are there'."

Barry, who has carved a career for himself in Vegas after splitting with Tua, believed the result would give Parker some much-needed attention in the right circles.

"I think people will look at Frans Botha, they will look at the people who have beaten him in the past, they will look at his durability and his toughness and they will look at what Joseph Parker did in this fight as a young 21-year-old from south Auckland and they will be asking questions."

- Fairfax Media

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