By Duncan Johnstone
New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has tweaked his game plan for his intriguing clash with American brawler Brian Minto next month.
The undefeated Parker takes on the veteran Minto in South Auckland on July 5.
Parker's trainer Kevin Barry has ordered a change of tactics to counter the aggression Minto will bring to this contest.
Minto is a come-forward fighter, a bloke who loves to be in the face of his opponent.
It's in stark contrast to Parker's last fight, when he had to chase down rangy Brazilian Marcelo Nascimento for a seventh round knockout victory in Germany.
"I've set the game plan in place for Minto, we started working on that game plan from day one," Barry said from Las Vegas where Parker is three weeks into his training.
"It's just a couple of little changes we've made from the last camp … just tweaking a few things.
"We're getting back to the basics a little bit more. I want a lot of straight punching against Minto - I don't want these looping right hands, I don't want us to be in a position where we can get anywhere near Minto's elbows or his head."
In a sense much of the groundwork for this fight was laid in the leadup to Parker's fight in Germany on the undercard to Wladimir Klitchko's successful world title defence.
Parker had been expecting to take on Sherman Williams, another go-forward boxer of similar dimensions to Minto.
When Williams controversially withdrew, Parker had to make late adjustments against the much taller and wild-swinging Nascimento. He got out of jail, surviving a burst eardrum when he dropped his guard against the Brazilian in the sixth round.
Now Barry is demanding a far more clinical defensive performance from his young charge.
Many have questioned the sense of putting Parker in the ring against Minto at this developmental stage of his career, especially after the American brutally ended Shane Cameron's time in the ring last year.
But Parker's backers argue that if he is to be the real deal, he needs to be disposing of journeymen like Minto.
Tags: Joseph Parker