New Zealand heavyweight boxing sensation Joseph Parker is facing his toughest opponent to date on June 13, stepping up to fight 12 rounds in Palmerston North against a man ominously known across Europe as ‘The Scorpion’.
German Heavyweight Champion Yakup Saglam arrives in New Zealand next month leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
The 6’4” Turkish born pugilist has 34 wins in 37 fights with 31 coming by way of knockout. In percentage terms, he wins 92 percent of all his fights at a KO ratio of 84 percent.
International matchmaker Stu Duncan knows there will be plenty of debate about the Scorpion just like there has been about Parker’s previous 13 opponents but he has been instructed ‘no easy fights’.
In the case of the ‘The Scorpion’, Mr Duncan has found Parker an opponent who is statistically the toughest ever faced by a heavyweight prospect in just his 14th fight.
“Wladimir Klitschko’s 14th pro fight was against a guy with 18 losses,” says Mr Duncan.
“No one disputes Klitschko’s gone on to be the most dominant heavyweight of the last decade.
“Turn the clock back slightly further, Lennox Lewis’ 14th opponent had lost 10 times while Mike Tyson fought Sammy Scaff who was 13-6.”
Promoter Dean Lonergan remains convinced Parker will earn a world title shot soon, as long as he can keep winning decisively and with style.
“The two current heavyweight champions (Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder) each fought more than 30 times before they got their world title shot”.
“Joseph’s Road to the Title is far steeper but it is paying off in the world rankings.”
Parker is currently ranked 8th by the World Boxing Organisation and 10th by the World Boxing Association.
A good win against ‘The Scorpion’ on June 13 should improve those rankings further because the 23 year old will be putting his regional WBA PABA and WBO Oriental titles on the line.
The bout will also be the first opportunity for Parker to showcase the new skills he picked up at Wladimir Klitschko training camp last month.
Only a limited amount of general admission tickets remain for the Arena Manawatu event with corporate tables selling out very quickly.
Parker and his trainer Kevin Barry will return to New Zealand from their Las Vegas base on May 30.