Boxing: Pettaway here to get business done

American heavyweight Jason Pettaway in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
American heavyweight Jason Pettaway in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
American heavyweight Jason Pettaway is in the business of landing uppercuts.

As it turns out he also owns a business called Uppercuts. That's right. The guy who will fight New Zealand's No 1 heavyweight Joseph Parker in Auckland in March is a barber.

The 34-year-old rearranges heads - in a good way. But he will need to be as quick with the gloves as he is with the clippers if he is going to go the distance with Parker.

The New Zealander is ranked much higher (24th) on the respected website BoxRec and is building a reputation as an athlete on the way up.

Pettaway is ranked 158th but has a decent record of 17-1. His only loss was against powerful Russian Magomed Abdusalamov.

The fight against Parker is great opportunity for Pettaway to claw his way up the rankings. He has nothing to lose in that sense.

Parker and his camp, though, will be hoping for nothing more than a solid workout to open what is shaping as a busy year for the 23-year-old.

Pettaway and his trainer Terence ''TK'' Kelly have other ideas. They were in Dunedin yesterday and told the Otago Daily Times while they respect Parker's ability, they believe they can win the fight.

''I really feel like I'm taking this fight on and coming here to win,'' Pettaway said.

''Joseph has a lot of speed and power so I've got to be careful with that. Mainly I have to make him miss and pay for shots which he misses.''

''I definitely don't want to be in front of him when he is punching. I have to move and not get comfortable.

''When you get to this level it is really hard to find mistakes and find openings, so I'm going to have to do a lot of homework.'''He's a great fighter. I can't take that from him. I just plan on being in the best shape of my life and I'm the most focused I've ever been.''

Parker's tendency to drop his hands from time to time has not gone unnoticed and Kelly feels his fighter can push the big Kiwi in ways he has not been challenged before.

''You don't want to take anything away from Joseph but he hasn't really fought anyone on Jason's level. For Joseph it is a step up because Jason is a lot more experienced and he is more technical.

''From what I've seen from Joseph, he has trouble with guys who box well. It is a higher level of difficulty for him.''

Pettaway met Muhammad Ali when he was 11 and it inspired him to chase his boxing career. Shortly after that meeting he was introduced to Kelly and the pair have forged an enduring relationship.

Pettaway amassed more than 130 amateur fights before turning professional in 2005.

The West Virginian has stepped up his training programme in recent months, sparring with 2004 Olympian Devin Vargas and Paul Parker, a cruiserweight with a 7-0 professional record.


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