Heavyweight boxing phenom Joseph Parker will face a former Waikato rugby league representative in his eagerly anticipated professional debut next month.
Dean Garmonsway, who has two wins and a draw in his three-fight pro career so far, and may have his hands full with Parker (20), touted as the best young fighting talent since David Tua. He's talking a good fight, though.
"I've come across plenty of people who backed themselves against me, only for them to lose," comments the Huntly College PE teacher, who played league for his province at age-group level. "Parker's a good boy with, potentially, a big future - I can change all that.
"I've been waiting for an opportunity like this. It's a high-profile bout, and I'm planning on winning it and making a bit of noise on the New Zealand scene for myself."
Parker turned pro in May after failing to qualify for the London Olympics. His amateur career included a gold medal at the 2011 Arafura Games and silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Championships, but his Olympic aspirations ended with a shock loss at this year's Oceania Championships, although he later defeated Oceania champion Johan Linde of Australia at the China Cup.
"This is the real deal now," Parker says. "This is professional boxing and I know enough about the game to know that you have to treat everyone like a world champion.
"This is the one-punch division - anyone can tag anyone. Now that I know who my opponent is, I can start studying him and preparing for him.
"I'll be more prepared for this bout than any in my life. I'm coming to win and I'm coming to hurt. This is business now."
The bout is scheduled for July 5 at SKYCITY, on the undercard of Shane Cameron v Monte Barrett.