Joseph Parker at the Fight for Life Weigh In at SkyCity
Convention Centre. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
Top Kiwi prospect Joseph Parker's road to heavyweight
boxing relevance lies either through or around Sonny Bill
Should Parker follow the script tonight and dispense with
Richard Tutaki in the six-round main event of the Fight for
Life at Trusts Stadium, his handlers Duco plan to set the
20-year-old fledgling pro on a collision course with New
Zealand Professional Boxing Association champion Williams.
Duco's David Higgins confirmed Parker would work towards a
challenge for the rival NZ National Boxing Federation title -
currently held by Chauncy Welliver - and then seek out
Williams for a unification fight.
"We don't want to rush anything but a big fight in the medium
term would be Sonny Bill Williams," Higgins said. "I know
Joseph is up for it and if Sonny Bill was up for it it would
create quite a bit of interest. We see Sonny Bill as
Williams is due to fight ageing South African veteran
Francois Botha on February 8 in Sydney. The NZPBA title
Williams won by knocking out Clarence Tillman in February
will not be on the line.
NZPBA president Lance Revill confirmed Williams could defend
his title against any fighter ranked in the organisation's
top 10 for a first defence, but after that he would have to
fight the number one contender. Duco's plan is for Parker to
become that mandatory challenger within a year.
A Parker-Williams fight would have significant box office
appeal in this country, however Higgins believes Williams
would forgo the hefty payday and vacate his title rather than
face a genuine prospect such as Parker.
"Knowing [Williams' manager] Khoder Nasser's tactics, excuses
will come into play and it may not pan out," Higgins said.
"Either way, I think the issue will be forced in the coming
For now the entire scenario is hypothetical. Both Williams
and Parker are still largely unknown quantities. However
Parker's impressive amateur record stacks up favourably
against the succession of bums and beneficiaries Williams has
dispatched during a five fight pro career.
While his celebrity status has helped Williams pick up a
national title with unseemly ease, Parker has several more
hoops to jump through before getting his title shot. When and
how it comes will depend on Welliver. It seems unlikely the
American-Kiwi will defend his NZNBF title by January, in
which case it will become vacant.
Top-ranked locals Joey Wilson and Afa Tatupo would be first
cabs off the rank for a shot at the vacant tile, NZNBF
commissioner Reg Williams said. Parker is likely three fights
away from being in contention for the title.
The South Auckland Mormon's ascent up the rankings should
continue tonight against Tutaki. While 43-fight journeyman
Tutaki is a step up from the obese Terry Tuteru and Huntly
school teacher Dean Garmonsway, Parker should be too slick
and far too fast for the durable but limited Tutaki.
Parker's next assignment could well be a trip across the
Tasman to fight on the Anthony Mundine v Daniel Geale
undercard in January. Promoters for that card on January 30
in Sydney recently confirmed it would also feature street
fighting legend Kimbo Slice, as well as the boxing debut of
Wallaby Quade Cooper.
- Steve Deane of the NZ Herald