Before we get to the interview we must fast forward one day past our first sit-down when I catch up with Joseph Parker, stable mate Izu Ugonoh and trainer Kevin Barry to watch as Tyson Fury dethrones Wladimir Klitschko and assume the mantle as the king of the heavyweight division.
Its Sunday midday in Auckland at the Pullman hotel and the brassiere/bar is going crazy, well at least moderately crazy as heavyweight contenders Izu Ugonoh and Joseph Parker have just watched underdog Tyson Fury dethrone Wladimir Klitschko to end his decade long reign atop the heavyweight mountain.
At this moment Izu is just a regular fight fan as he turns to me in excitement and remarks, ‘see that’s what I love about boxing, as I tell you anything can happen!’
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.
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.