Shortly after signing a seven-figure contract to aid his
ascension to the big time, heavyweight Joseph Parker received a
reality check about the occasionally weird world of boxing.
Parker is set for his second fight as a professional tomorrow
night at the Rising Stars promotion at Trust Stadium in
Waitakere but, just days out from the bout, his opponent has
Southland veteran Hiriwa Te Rangi is out - busy tending to
his sick mother in hospital - and in his place comes a man
who hasn't stepped foot in the ring since 2007.
Terry Tuteru, who was a sparring partner of Te Rangi,
possesses an unflattering professional record and tips the
scales at 167kg - a good 61.5kg heavier than Parker.
He is hardly a gate-keeper in this country's heavyweight
division, but that's to be expected. Parker has long been
touted as the next big hope in heavyweight boxing, lauded as
New Zealand's best prospect since David Tua. But, like Tua
before him, the 20-year-old has to start somewhere.
And, after a scratchy first-up win over Huntly PE teacher
Dean Garmonsway in July, Parker cannot count on a smooth
glide to the top - he will have to negotiate some turbulence.
That arrived today when the pair weighed in at Don Oliver
Fitness Centre in west Auckland - a far cry from Sir Bob
Jones' glamorous harbour-front building where the six-year
deal with promotion company Duco was announced earlier this
The usual pre-fight preening was forgone, almost as if seeing
the fighters face-to-face would have further emphasised the
apparent gulf in ability.
Tuteru, who has only one draw to his name from 10
professional fights, has already suffered cheap shots in some
quarters. Parker will probably inflict a few more in the ring
tomorrow night but, for now, the youngster was content just
to be fighting.
"When they told me I might not be fighting I pushed for it
and Bob Jones pushed for it, because I need to be in the
ring," Parker said. "As a professional you've got the be in
the ring, so you don't slack off and you gain more
experience. I'm excited and it's going to be a good night."
Parker admitted he knew very little of his new opponent and
had, in fact, first laid eyes on him at the weigh-in.
"He's a big boy, he's a unit - he might have some tricks up
his sleeve. I don't know what he's going to bring, but I know
he's going to come ready. He wouldn't take the fight if he
"He looks like one of those David Tua-style fighters. I've
trained and tried to prepare myself for any different style.
It's going to be interesting."
There's no doubting that. Tuteru has a background in
kickboxing and, considering the card features boxing,
kickboxing and mixed martial arts, it is to be hoped he
remembers exactly in which discipline he is competing.
His last fight five years ago saw him knocked out in the
second round by Australian league player John Hopoate,
another man well-versed in the bizarre side of sport. Despite
being at the beginning of what he hopes if a long career,
Parker said he was already well aware to expect the
"In boxing, sometimes things don't turn out the way they're
supposed to turn out so you have to prepare yourself for any
situation. I'm just thankful to Terry for jumping in last
minute. I know he's going to come ready so I'm just looking
forward to the fight night."