40-year-old Solomon Haumono will certainly be ruining a lot of big plans if he pulls off the upset and defeats top-ranked IBF heavyweight contender Joseph Parker when they meet next month, but Haumono’s trainer Justin Fortune is confident it can happen. Currently training the 24-2-2(21) giant in Los Angeles, Fortune – best known as a former co-trainer of superstar Manny Pacquiao but also a former heavyweight himself – told The Daily Telegraph that “Sol,” as he refers to Haumono, is “going to be completely different to anything he has ever shown in the past.”
Haumono is a massive underdog, viewed, really, as nothing more than a tune-up opponent for Parker as the 24-year-old prepares for his shot at IBF champ Anthony Joshua – but Fortune says Parker is “not the finished article.”
“You’re going to see a Solomon Haumono you’ve never seen before,” Fortune told the paper. “He has been a plodder. He plods forward and throws those big looping right hands. We’re changing all that. In terms of power, pound for pounds, he generates what Manny [Pacquiao] does. The difference is Manny has incredible speed and speed kills. We’ve been working on speed a lot with Sol here. Sol can punch like a train. I’ve sparred a lot of heavyweights, I’ve trained a lot of heavyweights, and I’m telling you Sol can really punch. His power surprised me. We’re coming to fight. Parker is a very good fighter. But far from the finished article. He makes mistakes and we plan to capitalise on them.”
The fight, set for July 21st in Christchurch, New Zealand, will be Parker’s 20th pro outing and his third fight of the year. Haumono can punch, as Fortune and his 21 KO’s say he can, and he is a strong and physical fighter, but never has Haumono met a fighter of Parker’s class and talent. The closest Haumono came was when he met US veteran Kevin Johnson in 2013, when he was stopped for the only time in his pro career. Haumono is a game fighter and Fortune is pushing him as hard as can be in training, but can the 40-year-old really be taught speed at this juncture in his career?
Parker has a good number of people convinced he is the heavyweight division’s next big thing. It would be a monumental upset if Haumono were to derail Parker’s assault on the title. Parker will further sharpen his tools next month as he gets ready to tackle Joshua. The question here seems to be, will Parker get a KO win over Haumono or will he have to go the full 12? I think the former.