Power punch

Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - Pa­trick McKendry

Joseph Parker’s ring plan

Alexan­der Flo­res, watch out — Joseph Parker wants to be­come more dev­as­tat­ing in the ring and is con­cen­trat­ing on his power punch­ing in a bid to fin­ish his next op­po­nent quickly.

The two heavy­weights will meet in Christchurch on De­cem­ber 15. The bout is sched­uled for 10 rounds but Parker wants to end it early as he looks to re­bound from back-to-back losses to An­thony Joshua and Dil­lian Whyte.

In­creas­ing Parker’s power is a key area of improve­ment be­cause his last five fights have gone the full 12 rounds, his last knock­out com­ing against Alexan­der Dim­itrenko in Auck­land in Oc­to­ber, 2016.

The 26-year-old dropped Whyte in the last round in Lon­don in July but ran out of time to fin­ish off the English­man. The for­mer WBO world cham­pion did not hurt Joshua in Cardiff, although Parker wasn’t hurt ei­ther.

There has never been any doubt about Parker’s hand speed or abil­ity to throw com­bi­na­tions and, while tim­ing is im­por­tant, fel­low heavy­weights Joshua and Deon­tay Wilder have shown there is no sub­sti­tute for power and ex­plo­sive­ness.

Other im­prove­ments, as sug­gested by for­mer undis­puted heavy­weight world cham­pion Len­nox Lewis, such as Parker’s eva­sive­ness and abil­ity to throw a more dis­crete over­hand right, are also nec­es­sary — and al­most cer­tainly be­ing worked on out of the pub­lic eye.

“In other camps, I’ve worked on my speed and move­ment, but we all think I need to de­velop my power to be more dev­as­tat­ing,” Parker told the Her­ald on Sun­day. “If we want a good win and to throw some big punches, then we need to work on things . . . power is one of those. Strength and ex­plo­sive­ness are the other things we are work­ing on in this camp.

“I know I’ve got fast hands but we’re mak­ing sure ev­ery shot means some­thing rather than throw­ing for the sake of it.”

Parker has worked on power be­fore but not to this ex­tent. In a video re­leased by his camp in the build-up to the fight at Horn­cas­tle Arena, Parker shows im­pres­sive power and strength as Tay­lor Barry, son of trainer Kevin, holds a pad.

“We hadn’t re­ally done that pow­er­punch­ing pad work be­fore,” Parker said. “When Tay­lor holds the pad, I try my best to smash it with ev­ery­thing I have. We’re also do­ing a lot more strength work.

“Tay­lor is young and he has some good size on him; it’s bet­ter for him to hold the pad

[rather than Kevin]. When you throw big shots like that in train­ing, it’s good for your power and ac­cu­racy but also your fit­ness.” The key, as ever in this sport, is to hit and not be hit in re­turn. A boxer plant­ing his or her feet in a bid to gen­er­ate more power in their punches can be an eas­ier tar­get but Parker said he and his team were mit­i­gat­ing against that.

“The good thing about what Kev is teach­ing me is that I’m throw­ing the shots but get­ting in a po­si­tion af­ter­wards to con­tinue if I want to, or move away and cre­ate dis­tance; mak­ing sure if you throw power shots, you’re not there to be hit.” Parker, speak­ing from his Las Ve­gas base af­ter fin­ish­ing an eight-round spar­ring ses­sion, is five weeks into train­ing and has just con­cluded his sec­ond week of spar­ring.

“I’m happy with where I am and I think Kev is happy,” he said. “By fight time, we’ll be ready and peak­ing.”

Parker and his team will at­tend the Deon­tay Wilder v Tyson Fury fight in Los An­ge­les on De­cem­ber 1 be­fore trav­el­ling to New Zealand.

He should ar­rive men­tally and phys­i­cally ready for his fourth and fi­nal fight of the year and in pos­ses­sion of a hunger for a new sport: golf. Parker said he caught the golf bug af­ter play­ing in the Steven Adams In­vi­ta­tional at Win­dross Farm in Pa­pakura in Au­gust.

“I didn’t know how to hit the ball, but af­ter tak­ing les­sons, I’m hit­ting the ball well all the time,” Parker said. “It’s good to get away and shut the mind off from box­ing for a while.

“To­day, we were warm­ing up for spar­ring and I was prac­tis­ing my golf swing. Kev was like, ‘I knew this was go­ing to hap­pen — box­ing is go­ing to be­come sec­ondary’.”

Photo / Photosport

Joseph Parker is work­ing hard.

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