Trusts Arena Auckland – Joseph Parker came out firing from the first round to break down and ultimately stop durable veteran and former world title challenger Kali Meehan early in the 3rd round of their scheduled 12 round fight to cap off a busy night of action.
When Joseph Parker walks into the gym you can clearly tell he’s been in beast mode. At 23 he is still clearly growing into his body while in the last 12 months the chest the lats and traps have become noticeably bigger. Parker has been posting up various clips on his social media accounts, performing a multiplicity of pull-ups and press-ups; his trainer Kevin Barry opting for the old school bodyweight drills of yesteryear as the favoured way to build his charge’s strength and conditioning.
The result? Parker now resembles something close to a tank, but reassuringly if his pad and heavy bag work are anything to go by, he hasn’t lost any of his speed.
Its funny how one big punch can change a career, either positively or negatively, especially in this brave new world of social media where ‘going viral’ can make or break a career. For undefeated Polish heavyweight Izu Ugonoh it was an experience in the positive providing his career with a well earned bump after a year of graft and hard work with new trainer Kevin Barry.
Just over two months ago Ugonoh ended his 13th professional fight against William Quarrie with a right hand so spectacular it blasted Quarrie out of the ring and onto the dinner plate of a ringside spectator.
In the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather’s rather limp exit from the sport and with Manny Pacquiao now publicly stating that God is telling him to retire, the Welterweight division, so long one of the sports glamour divisions lies wide open looking for its next batch of dominant stars.
While proven names such as Amir Khan, Danny Garcia and Kell Brook are circling, Australian excitement machine Jeff Horn sits just below them looking for his opportunity to break into the top tier.
Fast rising heavyweight contender Joseph Parker 15(13)-0 has just announced his next opponent as fellow countryman Kali Meehan 42(32)-5. Parker in keeping with the busy schedule laid down by his team last year is lining up the well respected Meehan as his 4th opponent of 2015 with another fight set to follow in December as well as a potential bout in Samoa tentatively pencilled in for late January next year.
Meehan an 18 year veteran and former world title challenger, who still commands a respectable Boxrec ranking of twenty nine, marks a jump in competition for Parker who will be looking to see if he can keep his recent impressive knockout streak going.
Joseph Parker is back in town preparing to face hard hitting Tongan Bowie Tupou on August 1st at Stadium Southland, Invercargill. While comparisons are often odious it isn’t until our interview has concluded and we have reached the training gym that one begins to see the results of all the hard work Parker has been putting in with Kevin Barry over the past 24 months and the difference in how he now physically looks from the fleshy fresh faced rookie who began his tutelage with Barry back in 2013.
While always being a decent sized heavyweight, Parker’s physique now resembles that, to use the English vernacular, of a brick outhouse. The shoulders are noticeably broader, the chest and arms now filling out as Parker continues to grow into his frame. And just in case anyone is wondering, if watching him hit the mitts is any indication, he hasn’t lost any of his trademark speed.
Joseph Parker’s stable mate and chief sparring partner has had a busy couple of months. Having fought in New Zealand in March he accompanied Parker to Wladimir Klitschko’s Florida training camp where he sparred numerous sessions with the champion giving him some of his best work. He is now once again down under to fight in his first 8 rounder against familiar veteran Julius Long.
Being part of a Joseph Parker fight in New Zealand means the inevitable press tour, which in the middle of winter may not necessarily be an ideal preparation for a fight. Still I assume it is nowhere as cold as Poland his country of birth.
ESB: Doing a press tour throughout the country you must have had an opportunity to see a bit of New Zealand. It’s cold right now but I assume you are used to that being born in Poland. Where were you born in Poland and how could did it get down there?
Boxing is often referred to as ‘the hurt business’ and over time the sport has been littered with many casualties, oftentimes angry young men whose star burned brightly but then faded just as fast, the dark energy that propels them to the top inevitably proving unsustainable over the long term. Sitting down with Joseph Parker you sense none of that. Instead you find a young man at ease with himself and the environment around him.
Talk which starts with boxing soon moves on to family and friends, a subject that is never far from Joseph’s mind. But it is a deceptive energy because make no mistake; once the opening bell rings, as he has proven in recent fights, he is all business.
ESB: You must be excited to be back on home soil fighting in front of your family and friends. I understand that your parents have been able to watch you fight overseas as well?
On June 13th at Manawatu Arena, Palmerston North, world ranked heavyweight Joseph Parker takes on Yakup Saglam in a fight that looks to have knockout written all over it. However, an equally exciting battles looms on the undercard in a match-up that is worthy of co-main event status.
Up-and-coming Australian welterweight Jeff Horn, 9 (7)-0-1 takes on the WBA 11th ranked Ghanaian Richmond Djarbeng, 19(15)-2-1 in a fight that you sense both fighters are not just coming to win, but win in impressive fashion.
For those in the know Jeff Horn has been tabbed as the most talented Australian fighter to emerge in the last decade and with a year that has so far been slowed with hand surgery the likeable yet destructive fighter is keen to make up for lost time. We caught up with Jeff to talk about his upcoming fight with Djarbeng and to also hear his thoughts on where the welterweight division is heading over the next 12 months and his role in it.
….his relationship with trainer Kevin Barry and his upcoming sparring with Wladimir Klitschko in April
The lobby of the Pullman Hotel, Joseph Parker’s home away from home when he is in Auckland preparing for a fight, is a lot busier than usual. Cricket World Cup fever has hit the country and New Zealand’s national team are also staying at the inner city hotel as they prepare for their upcoming grudge match against fierce rivals Australia. Only the day before Joseph and Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum have done a TV news piece, Parker and Coach Kevin Barry putting the cricketer through his paces in the boxing gym.
When we meet Joseph is downstairs hitting the mitts with Kevin, during which McCullum and several other teammates drift in to take a look at the action, emitting low whistles at the power and precision with which Joseph hits his heavily padded trainer.