New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker rates his win over Kali Meehan the best of his blossoming career.
Parker floored the veteran with a stunning left-right combination one minute into the third round of their Auckland bout on Thursday night.
Meehan wobbled back to his feet but referee Ferlin Marsh waved the fight off without completing the count.
“I believe it is the best win at this stage of my career and the fights that he has had in his career,” a beaming Parker said after completing the 14th stoppage in his unbeaten run of 16 fights.
It was just the fourth time Meehan had been knocked out in 48 fights.
Meehan, who had questioned Parker’s power in the leadup to the fight, had no complaints afterwards.
“It was youth. A young fighter beats an old fighter,” Meehan said, explaining the punishment he received from the 23-year-old, who has now firmly claimed the star rights in this part of the world and is ready to push on with a career many see destined for bigger things.
But Parker conceded there was still much to learn, even from this fight.
“I was too excited early,” he said.
“I wasn’t breathing properly, I just didn’t really pick my shots. But when I did slow down, my punches did land, it flowed a lot better.”
Trainer Kevin Barry agreed: “I was trying to tell him to slow down. Joe felt he was going to knock him out at any stage. I was telling him to just get back in behind the jab. He could have made the fight a lot easier and a little quicker.
“I wanted him to pick his punches instead of just letting the bombs go all the time.”
Parker worked Meehan’s body in the second round before returning to his opponent’s head with devastating results in the third.
Parker had praise for Meehan.
“He came prepared and some of the punches I threw in the first round usually knocks out people.”
Barry also had warm words for his old friend Meehan: “Kali did a lot more than I thought he would. He’s a tough warrior. In the last couple of Joseph Parker fights we have seen that when he hits people they go out. Joe hit him with some flush punches in the first couple of rounds and he took them and came back.”
Meehan wouldn’t go as far as saying that was the end of his career but said it was time to concentrate on helping his promising son Willis, who featured on the undercard with a strong win, progress his promising heavyweight career.
He had no regrets about a heavy loss that came on the back of a good year on the New Zealand scene, winning the Super 8 and ending Shane Cameron’s career.
“I had a good run. I’ve got nothing left to prove. It’s his time now,” he said pointing at Willis.
He felt he had handled Parker’s pace reasonably well early on.
“I was ducking quite easily but then one or two got in and it changed quite quickly,” he said.
“This is our sport, it has no mercy. But I had to do it for my own reasons and I’ve done it.
“I take every fight as my last, I don’t make big plans.”