Izu Ugonoh: The Dancing Destroyer

Izu Ugonoh - It’s been an interesting 18 months for Polish heavyweight contender Izu Ugonoh. After moving to Las Vegas and hooking up with veteran trainer Kevin Barry, Ugonoh found his career tracking in the right direction with a busy schedule in 2015 that saw him own a highlight reel KO over Will Quarrie accompanied by a steady rise to number 15 in the WBO rankings.

It’s been an interesting 18 months for Polish heavyweight contender Izu Ugonoh. After moving to Las Vegas and hooking up with veteran trainer Kevin Barry, Ugonoh found his career tracking in the right direction with a busy schedule in 2015 that saw him own a highlight reel KO over Will Quarrie accompanied by a steady rise to number 15 in the WBO rankings.

Just at the point of launching into the next tier of higher ranked heavyweight opponents Izu, whose sporting profile was now growing steadily in his native Poland, was offered an opportunity to appear on their version of ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ With the potential to exponentially grow his fan base and popularity in Poland being too good to pass up,Izustarted the year by trading in his boxing gloves for dancing shoes.

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Video: Joseph Parker 234 vs. Carlos Takam 241

If not exactly playing the outright bad guy Carlos Takam has presented himself during his various media obligations in Auckland, as sullen, withdrawn and taciturn. Takam’s answers to even the most routine of questions posed to him could best be described as monosyllabic, although this may due to his tenuous grasp of the English language, Takam clearly preferring that any dialogue and discourse be conducted in French.

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Interview: Joseph Parker discusses Carlos Takam, training camp and his newfound German ancestry

In every promising sports career there comes a breakout moment, a crossroads junction where hype meets reality. That moment has arrived for unbeaten prospect Joseph Parker as he commences preparations to face the always dangerous Carlos Takam in a fight, that if victorious, will see him transition from prospect to contender.

In 2015 Parker cut a swathe through his opposition, obliterating all who faced him with a string of booming knockouts courtesy of his powerful right hand. Despite this impressive run of performances Parker wasn’t immune from criticism as sceptics were quick to claim that his opponents were either over matched, over the hill or just plain underwhelming. ‘He needs to start stepping it up’ seemed to be the consensus of opinion while Parker kept busy in his work, fighting and winning six times in a little over ten months. This accelerated schedule saw him rewarded with a swift rise through the world rankings.

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Kevin Barry Interview: ‘There is a lot more to come from Joseph Parker.’

Joseph Parker - As quickly as Tyson Fury changed the landscape of the heavyweight division with his against-the-odds defeat of Wladimir Klitschko, so it fractured again with the IBF immediately splintering off and declaring their title vacant.

As quickly as Tyson Fury changed the landscape of the heavyweight division with his against-the-odds defeat of Wladimir Klitschko, so it fractured again with the IBF immediately splintering off and declaring their title vacant.

In their own way the IBF may have done heavyweight boxing a favour as it has cleared a path for two of the sport’s most promising young heavyweights, Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker, to step up and sign the most significant fights of their respective careers.

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Joseph Parker moved to number 1 by the WBO, immediately calls out Anthony Joshua.

Unbeaten New Zealand heavyweight hopeful Joseph Parker celebrated being moved to number one by the WBO in their updated rankings by immediately calling out fellow unbeaten prospect, Brit, Anthony Joshua.

Joshua is currently ranked number two by the WBO and a fight between the two would see the winner become the mandatory to take on current champion Tyson Fury.

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Parker methodically beats down Bergman in Eight

Apia, Samoa, Faleata Sports Complex. As expected Joseph Parker improved to 18(16)-0 with a methodical beat down of human punching bag Jason Bergman 25(16)-12-2 in the eighth round of their scheduled twelve round fight.

Before a boisterous hometown crowd in Apia, Parker came out pawing his trademark jab looking to set up a big right hand, before settling into his work from the second which was punctuated with a knock down to Bergman from a thudding left hand.

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Joseph Parker: Samoan blood, Kiwi heart

Joseph Parker - Apia, Samoa. It might not quite be ‘The Rumble in the Jungle,’ but as far flung and unexpected locations for a boxing match go the tropical balmy climes of Samoa are right up there. And there is a palpable sense of anticipation breezing through this tiny island nation right now ahead of Joseph Parker’s clash with his first southpaw opponent, American, Jason Bergman.

Apia, Samoa. It might not quite be ‘The Rumble in the Jungle,’ but as far flung and unexpected locations for a boxing match go the tropical balmy climes of Samoa are right up there. And there is a palpable sense of anticipation breezing through this tiny island nation right now ahead of Joseph Parker’s clash with his first southpaw opponent, American, Jason Bergman.

Even Parker’s promoters Duco have cheekily drawn parables with Ali and Foreman’s historic fight, labelling Parker and Bergman’s clash the slightly more clunky sounding ‘The Rumble in Paradise.’ Whether a rumble ensues remains to be seen but the exotic surroundings that make up Samoa’s sunny islands definitely qualifies as paradise.

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