By Matheson Sports Media
Heavyweight Sherman “Tank” Williams has served up a volley of abuse as the countdown to his clash with unbeaten New Zealander Joseph Parker on the world’s biggest stage in Germany draws near. And Williams doesn’t just have the young Kiwi boxing phenomenon in his sights. He’s singled out Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry and promoters Duco Events for having the audacity to pair him with the 22 year old on the April 27 undercard of the world heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Alex Leapai in Germany.
“They should have done some research before agreeing to put him in the ring with me,” said Williams, who can claim to be one of the heavyweight division’s most durable boxers having only been stopped once in 52 fights. “At the end of this fight Joseph and all the people who like talking for him – people like Kevin Barry – are going to have to start their planning all over. They are going to have to figure out how to market a guy coming off a loss following his first fight against a decent fighter. I question their management because they are pushing him into the fire.
“Come April 27, Joseph Parker is going to pay the price because he is walking into a nightmare. It’s like they’re throwing him into the deep end to see if he can swim. Well, they are about to find out that I am waiting in the water for him and I’m going to pull his ass under the water and drown him.”
Parker, undefeated in his seven pro fights, has impressed many with his progress under Barry but Williams isn’t one of the converted. Not even Parker’s two round demolition job on former contender Francois Botha last year has any cut-through with ‘The Tank’ as he eyes their Sky ARENA pay-per-view clash.
“Was I impressed with that performance? Are you kidding? Botha sleepwalked his way through the fight. It looked like he was on vacation. Parker is your basic, everyday up and comer. He has good boxing technique. He has somewhat fast hands. He seems to be progressing pretty well. But he’s had seven fights! At least he will learn plenty from his eighth…”
Parker, who will come face-to-face with Williams for the first time at an Auckland press conference tomorrow, is typically unfazed by Williams’ bravado.
He saw off Botha’s ‘Baby Joseph’ taunts with ease and he intends on doing the same at Oberhausen’s Koenig Pilsener Arena.
“The talk is part of the game,” Parker said. “Sherman has earned the right to talk because he has been around for so long. Me, I just do what I always do – I train hard, stay respectful and save my talking for the ring. Boxing isn’t about who can trash talk better. It’s about who can box smarter, and punch harder.”
Parker, who will return to his Las Vegas camp with Barry later this week, is stronger, faster and smarter than the last time New Zealand audiences saw him when he KO’d ‘King’ Afa Tatupu in October.
And he will need to be, because Williams represents the biggest test of the Kiwi’s fledging career.
The West Indian – a current sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko – has knocked out more than half of the 36 opponents he has defeated. And off the 19 knockouts he has registered, a devastating 17 have come inside the first three rounds.
In 2005 he proved his quality when he went the distance with Ruslan Chagaev who would go on to become the WBA’s heavyweight world champion.
And in 2011 he was robbed of a career defining fight when after dominating the first three rounds against the great Evander Holyfield, Sherman’s power opened up a cut and allowed the former WBC, WBA. IBF and IBO champion to be saved by a ‘no contest’ ruling.
Parker will need to fight ‘big’ on April 27 – from the outside, getting the shorter Williams to reach. He needs to be smart and he needs to be systematic.
Those are the things he has been mastering in his sparring sessions in the US – sessions with Barry which have him high on confidence.
“I am not going in and planning to knock Sherman Williams out,” Parker said. “I’m training for it to go the distance. But if the opportunity arises then I do believe that with the power that I have developed, there will be a knockout in Germany…”