Rising heavyweight contender Joseph Parker’s (12-0, 10 KO’s) next fight has been announced for March 5th at Auckland’s Vodafone Events Centre, where he will face American, Jason Pettaway (17-1, 10 KO’s.)
Pettaway has been pegged by Coach Kevin Barry as something of a mover in the ring and someone who won’t remain stationary in front of his powerful protégé. Learning to effectively cut off his opponent’s space is definitely a work-on for Parker and in Pettaway they hope to have found an adversary who will test these abilities.
On paper, considering Pettaway is far lowlier ranked than Parker’s last foe Beato Costa Junior, the American may seem a strange choice of opponent for a young fighter looking to move up the rankings. Parker’s team though seem keen to replicate the schedule which worked so well for them in 2014 by beginning the year with a stay busy fight while steadily building the quality and calibre of opposition throughout the year.
There is one exciting and significant deviation from the blueprint though, as rumours have now been confirmed that Parker has accepted an offer from Wladimir Klitschko to spar with him in April, an offer Parker was forced to decline twice last year due to scheduling difficulties.
The proposition clearly excites Parker and his team, an opportunity they have been working towards for some time, not that he will be overlooking the disposal of Pettaway first, “Just getting the welcome to the camp is a great opportunity. But I know if I can’t beat Jason then I’ll definitely have trouble with Klitschko big time. So I’m just trying my best to get past this challenge and then looking at going over and sparring Klitschko who is the best in the world. You can’t get any better than that.”
Coach Kevin Barry agrees and believes the sparring will serve as the ultimate measuring stick as to how far Parker has come and what he needs to improve on. “The biggest thing is it will give us our best indication of where Joe is after two years as a pro. And it will also give us a realistic appraisal of how much work we still we have to do to compete at the highest level. Part of the plan for 2015 was to have Joe work with a big, tall guy and you can’t get anyone better than Wladimir Klitschko.”
Parker’s plan for the first half of the year seems a simple one: Chalk up a solid win against Pettaway in March, spar with Wladimir Klitschko in April and use that invaluable experience as a springboard into his July bout. Parker’s promoters Duco have already targeted this fight as the one where they hope to step Joseph up against the highest ranked opponent in his relatively short career.
Depending on how the results pan out one imagines that the latter part of 2015 will see a schedule packed with Parker facing a steady stream of increasingly dangerous opponents as finishing the year ranked within the top ten of all four major organisations is something which Coach Kevin Barry stated as an immediate objective at the close of 2014.
If everything goes according to plan by the end of the next 12 month cycle we should know a lot more about Joseph Parker and the place he occupies in the burgeoning line of millennial pretenders aiming to ascend to the throne of the heavyweight division.
You can follow Joseph at: www.twitter.com/joeboxerparker