New Zealander Joseph Parker is hoping to continue his rapid progress on March 5th as the up and coming heavyweight tackles American Jason Pettaway at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City.
Fighting in his home country for the third time in a row following a successful trip to the US last August, Parker will be aiming to notch his 13 straight win since turning professional in July 2012 on the back of success as an amateur.
Opponent Pettaway has lost just once in 17 bouts against Russian brute Magomed Abdusalamov almost three years ago and Parker is weary of the challenge that the veteran New Yorker will bring to the table when they clash next month.
“Pettaway is a good boxer and was a good amateur. He is very experienced and likes to move a lot to get his counter punches off,” Parker told World Boxing News.
“It’s another fight for me as I still have a lot to learn and Kevin (Barry, trainer) is improving my skills all the time. I need to focus on each and every opponent and keep winning and in doing so I will be fighting better guys that I hope one day will lead me to a world title fight.
Asked when he believes he may be ready for that title shot, Parker added: “I don’t set a time for that. I will follow the path that my promotional team and trainer Kevin Barry set for me. I am ranked in the top 10 with the WBA and the WBO, so I’m hoping to be ranked soon by the WBC and IBF also.”
A lucrative bout with unified world champion Wladimir Klitschko is what most of the top rated heavyweights clamour for and Parker is no different, although the 23 year-old is aware that there are plenty more steps to take in order to earn his spot as the number one contender.
“Wladimir is at the top of his game and is the best heavyweight of the last decade,” he said. “Klitschko is a big man who uses his height and reach to his advantage. He knows his strengths and knows how to use them.
“Next he faces Bryant Jennings who is a tough, very well-conditioned fighter, but he has never seen competition like Klitschko and I feel that the size factor will be too much for him. At the moment, I don’t think anybody beats Klitschko, but as we know it only takes one punch to dethrone a champion as it’s hard to fight a perfect disciplined fight every time.”
Parker’s record is an impressive one, boasting 10 stoppages in his 12 outings, eight of which came in the first four rounds. Having enjoyed plenty of activity over the past twelve months, the promising star is hoping to replicated that again in 2015 and potentially move towards a massive fight with Aussie rival Lucas Browne.
Unbeaten Browne, who has stopped 19 of 22 under the tutelage of UK star Ricky Hatton, has just been made the WBA mandatory challenger and Parker would be open to a massive New Zealand v Australia battle in the future.
“I would love to fight Lucas at some stage,” confirmed Parker. “We are both flying the Australasian flag. Lucas and his team have done a great job moving him through the rankings and all credit to them.
“A fight against Lucas would have great Trans-Tasman appeal for the people of New Zealand and Australia, especially if we both keep winning and remain undefeated.
“I just want to stay active again as I fought five times in 2014 and I’m hoping to do the same this year as I need the experience under my belt.
“Before I go, I would like to thank all my supporters who motivate and inspire me to be the best that I can be. I have had a great training camp and one of my personal goals is to show more and be better every time that I fight,” he added.