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Parker preparing to dig deep against Takam

NZN 19/05/2016 Robert Lowe

Joseph Parker has been told by his camp to expect to dig deeper than ever before when he takes on the experienced Carlos Takam in a world heavyweight title elimination bout.

The pair step into the ring in Auckland on Saturday night, with the winner earning a shot at the IBF belt held by Briton Anthony Joshua.

Local bookmakers have made the 24-year-old Parker the heavy favourite to extend his 18-0 streak since turning professional.

But Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, sees the odds are more like evens and, if there is an underdog, he doesn't believe it's Takam.

"I think this is a 50-50 fight," he said.

"Takam, with his experience, the people he has been in the ring with, his record, his amateur pedigree, being a former Olympian - I would have him the favourite."

Cameroon-born and Paris-based, Takam has 33 wins, one draw and just two losses in an 11-year career, and Barry said Parker was preparing to have to go the distance.

But he was also confident about his charge's ability to do that and to come out on top.

"Joe is going to have to dig deeper than he has ever dug before in a fight," he said.

"This is a fight that has 12 rounds written all over it. If we get the very best Joseph Parker on Saturday night, we will be victorious."

Barry described the 35-year-old Takam as a powerful, aggressive and defensively sound opponent whom elite boxers like Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder had avoided.

"He's an awkward fighter who throws punches off different angles," he said.

"That's one reason other fighters don't want to fight him, because he ticks so many boxes."

While Barry expressed plenty of respect for Takam, he said Parker had risen to the every challenge presented to him over the past three years.

"This is two or three steps up, but I believe Joe needs a fight like this," he said.

"The style of Carlos Takam, his physicalness, his aggressive fighting, his stamina, the way he comes forward - all those things will test Joe like he has never been tested before and it will bring the very best out of him."

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