Boxing: Parker to fight Meehan

Joseph Parker.
Joseph Parker.
Kali Meehan says Joseph Parker's professional career will start properly when they meet in Auckland in October.

The veteran New Zealander, now based in Australia, was confirmed today as Parker's next opponent and said he has already been training for six weeks.

The fight, on October 15, will be held at Waitakere's Trust Stadium, near his former home in Avondale, and after watching Parker's career closely, including last weekend's 63-second knockout of Bowie Tupou, Meehan believes he will be the South Aucklander's toughest opponent to date.

"He's done everything that a young fighter coming along needs to do," Meehan said.

"He's done it, he's passed all those tests. They're match-making him very cleverly [but] without being disrespectful to his other opponents, this is his first real fight, his first big test, and I'll be ready."

Meehan, considered unlucky to lose a world title fight on points to Lamon Brewster in Las Vegas in 2004, is 45 but will have a height, reach and weight advantage over the 23-year-old Parker.

He has fought 47 times, with 42 wins and five losses. As a professional, Parker is undefeated over 15 fights.

He said Parker would be one of the quickest fighters he has faced in terms of hand speed, but that didn't overly concern him, and neither would the occasion.

"I've had 47-odd fights and about two million rounds of sparring. I've been in the ring with fast people and strong people... I've just got to make sure I'm in the best shape I can be.

"All lot of those fighters that he has fought - I'm not saying they were set up - but they know the game plan. They go in there and get a hiding, they get paid and they go home. That's not what I'm about."

Parker, who will have a brief break in Queenstown before leaving for a training camp at his Las Vegas base, said he would find taller sparring partners in order to prepare for the 1.96m Meehan.

Asked about his knockout of Tupou in Invercargill which some in the crowd had trouble believing, Parker said: "Even I couldn't see properly what happened until I saw the replays.

"I think the crowd wanted a longer fight, but you can't help it. If you land a good one and he goes down, you can't really say 'hey, can you get up again so we can carry on and give the crowd a better show?'. He was gone.

"The main thing we were working on for Tupou was the overhand right. Kevin said to me at the camp, 'when Tupou comes in with a big punch he's not expecting to get hit with something'... the punch which knocks you out is the one you don't expect. I put everything - a lot of energy - into that punch."

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