By Duncan Johnstone
Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker heads to New York today for talks with broadcasting heavyweights after an impressive television debut in the United States.
As expected, Parker did everything required of him in demolishing American journeyman Keith Thompson with a third round TKO in Bethlehem on the outskirts of Philadelphia yesterday.
His speed and power were lauded by commentators on the NBC network, who clearly see Parker as hot property in the heavyweight ranks where the 22-year-old has quickly risen to No 15 with the WBO organisation.
Now he will join his promoters in meetings with HBO and Showtime in New York.
Duco boss Dean Lonergan described those talks as "introductory discussions" and having their prized fighter appear on the back of an impressive knockout performance will certainly help their cause as they look to broaden the exposure for the New Zealand pro scene.
Parker faces a busy time.
He will also be with his bosses in Los Angeles for talks with promoters there, including Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy productions.
He will make a quick dash home to Auckland before returning to Las Vegas for the bulk of his buildup for his next assignment, a fight against the Bahama's Sherman Williams, in Auckland, on October 16.
Parker wants to get that preparation spot-on, believing a messy buildup to this fight had left him "feeling a bit flat" against Thompson.
That he was able to carry out the assignment with such style, is a credit to his ability.
But it also continued a worrying trend, Parker having felt below par for his other major overseas assignment on the Wladimir Klitschko card in Germany in April.
"I could feel it in the warm-up. I don't know what it was, I don't' want to make excuses, it must have been the flying or the delay of coming here," he said of visa and passport problems holding up his departure to America.
"I think when we have big fights around the world we need to go a bit earlier so I can adapt better to the time.
"We didn't have enough time in Germany as well. We are still learning about what is good with our team.
"But it was good to be live on US television . . . awesome.
"I think I showed some speed and some combinations. I was able to concentrate on [attacking] the body, that was the aim. Throw more shots, be patient and pick my shots. I'm happy with the victory."
Parker's increasingly effective jab set up the win, as he pounded Thompson's midriff.
His biggest disappointment was that his new "friend", former world champion Larry Holmes, turned up too late to catch his fight. By the time Holmes was ringside and introduced to the crowd, Parker had already disposed of Thompson. But Parker got to enjoy Holmes' company in celebrations at the casino later.
Parker said he was eager for a good camp ahead of his clash with the durable Williams, a veteran who hasn't been knocked out in 51 professional fights dating back to 1997 and includes 35 wins, 19 by knockouts.
"I know Sherman Williams is a tough guy, I need a lot of time to prepare," Parker said.