Joseph Parker set to fight for New Zealand title

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:00 27/08/2013
Joseph Parker
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
JOSEPH PARKER: "It's always been a goal. In my first year as a pro it's great to get the opportunity to fight for the title."

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Trainer Kevin Barry has been impressed with Joseph Parker's rapid progress as the young Kiwi heavyweight boxer's next fight was confirmed today.

Parker will fight Afa Tatupu for the New Zealand National Boxing Federation title at Trusts Arena on October 10.

Parker was originally scheduled to fight on David Tua's undercard but with Tua postponing his fight to November 16 because of injury, Parker's handlers were keen to see him make use of his seven-week training camp in Las Vegas where he has done 85 rounds of sparring and pounded the streets.

Barry and Parker are back in New Zealand and raring to go.

The hugely experienced Barry handled Parker for his impressive demolition of veteran South African Francois Botha in June and is promising more from his charge this time.

"We had a real tight schedule before the Botha fight," Barry said.

"We only had eight weeks together and every day counted.

"But since I have got him back to Las Vegas we have been able to be a bit more relaxed and I have been able to introduce Joseph to a lot more things.

"Joseph's body is changing. His strength is improving. His boxing knowledge is being extended every day. He is already a different and a better fighter to the one who beat Francois Botha."

Tatupu has nine wins and four losses as a professional and comes with a reputation as a big-hitter although he won't have Parker's hand speed.

Tatupu, like Parker, has been calling out Sonny Bill Williams who won the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association belt when he beat Clarence Tillman 18 months ago.

There's been no answer from the Williams camp, so in the meantime Tatupu and Parker will sort out their side of the equation.

"I can't wait," said Parker, now weighing in at 102 kilograms.

"There's a lot of talk around about Sonny Bill in the future but I have to remain focused on what's in front of me and that's 'King' Afa.

"In the meantime I'll let my fists do the talking for me."

There are plans for Parker to have another fight this year.

Duco Events also announced the addition of promising Robbie Berridge to their stable on a six-year deal.

The 28-year-old will fight NZPBA super middleweight title holder, Adrian Taihia on the undercard to Parker’s bout.

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