Joe Parker is used to hearing nice things said about him.
Words like "talent", "skill" and "potential" have been
attached to the 20-year-old New Zealand heavyweight hope
since he began to show promise with the gloves as a young
So initially he appears comfortable in the 21st-floor office
building with views of Auckland Harbour, owned by his sponsor
and manager Sir Bob Jones, as he faces the media today.
Duco promotor Dean Lonergan, a self-confessed motormouth, is
holding court as he explains the significance of the six-year
deal Parker is about to sign.
It is worth seven figures, says Lonergan, and the subsequent
promotion will make Parker one of the most well-known faces
in New Zealand.
As a result of the deal, Parker will headline December's
Fight for Life event in west Auckland.
More high-profile fights will follow, with a world title the
All of which begs the question - is this shy, young south
Auckland man ready to deal with the limelight?
"Yep, I'm ready," he says from behind a microphone and
dressed in suit and tie. "I think. It will take time, but I
will get used to it."
Lonergan steps in.
"It's a really good question, because we've talked about how
to deal with getting more and more recognised on a regular
basis," he says. "It's just little things like being on radio
stations and what have you. The more we get him out there,
the more polished he'll become.
"I think if you go back to the days of David Tua - because
he's the one who blazed a trail in this country in terms of
getting right to the top and getting very famous - David Tua
as a 17-year-old or 20-year-old was a lot different to the
David Tua of today who's very confident and outgoing.
"It just takes time. You look at Jonah Lomu, in the initial
days he probably struggled with the media, I don't think
Joseph [Parker] struggles at all, but as he gets older and
gets to talk on a more regular basis it just flows off the
tongue, as you can tell."
Later, Parker is more assured as he talks of the support the
deal brings; in particular the financial rewards, but also
the pressure it represents.
"It's a great opportunity for me. They're jumping in and
helping out heaps. All I have to do is put in the hard work
and get as fit as I can and be prepared for any fight that
"There is pressure because they're putting in a lot of money
and if I don't perform it doesn't really work well, but I
think I'm heading in the right direction."
Parker turned professional after being overlooked for the
London Olympics and his training has gone to a new level as a
In training with Lee Parore, Parker, who stands 1.97m, has
lost 12kg to weigh in at 106kg, and says he has gained
strength and power. His opening professional fight was a
second-round knockout of Dean Garmonsway in July's undercard
of Shane Cameron's demolition of Monte Barrett.
Now he is building a career piece by piece. It's early days,
as Lonergan and Sir Bob stress, and anything can happen, but
there is no doubt about Parker's potential and willingness to
"I've watched a lot of fighters. I've seen all of their
records. Watching them motivates me and gives me the drive to
push harder because if they can do it then well there's no
reason why I can't do it. All it is is hard work."