Convicted criminal Richard Tutaki has insisted that he is not
a bad person after being named as the opponent of promising
New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker.
Tutaki will fight Parker at the Fight for Life charity boxing
event at Trusts Arena in Auckland on December 15 but he hit
the headlines this year after the Herald revealed he was in
jail before the fight.
He was sentenced in February on four driving-related charges.
Tomorrow he is due to appear in Manukau District Court to
face two charges of breaching community work and one of
escaping from police custody. He is also to appear again on
January 29 on an unrelated charge of possessing
At the announcement of the fight in Auckland today the
34-year-old was asked whether the "good kid versus bad kid"
aspect would help in the pay-per-view event's promotion.
"You can see it how you like. Good kid, bad kid, I see myself
as a good kid anyway," he said. "It's media slander. They
class me as a bad kid. If you know me as I know me, I'm not a
Tutaki said he would plead not guilty in court tomorrow.
For Parker, 20, it was another indication that his days as an
amateur are long gone. He has had two professional fights -
comfortable victories over Dean Garmonsway and Terry Tuteru -
but Tutaki is a different prospect on several levels.
The "Tutaki Express" has fought 43 times for a 20-win,
22-loss, one-draw record. He has also slimmed down noticeably
from before the Williams fight was cancelled.
Asked whether it was a "redemption fight" for him, Tutaki
replied: "No I just see this as another fight against another
opponent. The Sonny Bill fight - everyone knows how
disappointed I was [it was cancelled]. It was shattering
really, for my family but mainly for myself."
Tutaki, who has dropped from 116kg to 110kg in about a month,
said he had been training hard.
Parker, at 105kg and a similar height to Tutaki at 192cm,
said he wasn't concerned about his opponent's past.
"It's not something I worry about. I concentrate on the
boxing side of things," he said.
He said of the step up from his last fight against Tuteru
last month: "There's a big difference between Terry and
Richard. The last fight, I won but there is still heaps to
learn ... he caught me a couple of times. I felt them, but my
fitness was good and I just took it on the chin and carried
"Richard's been in the game a long time so one of his main
threats will be his experience. He's got a good reach too,
we're both at a similar height."
Promotor Dean Lonergan said he was confident the fight would
go ahead despite Tutaki's imminent court appearance.
"We'd like to think there's no risk but at the end of the day
that's in a third party's hands so we'll just deal with that
as it comes up," he said.