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Parker ready for biggest fight of career

NZN 18/05/2016 Robert Lowe

Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam have both declared themselves ready to clear the last hurdle to a shot at a world heavyweight boxing title.

The pair step into the ring in Auckland on Saturday, with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger for the IBF belt held by Britain's Anthony Joshua.

The occasion marks a step up for hometown favourite Parker, who is unbeaten over 18 professional fights but faces a French-based Cameroonian opponent boasting strong credentials.

"I have a lot of respect for Carlos and what he has done in his career," Parker said on Wednesday.

"He has been in the ring with some big names."

But the fight represents a chance for the 24-year-old to take a huge stride towards his goal of becoming world champion.

"I'm not going to let anything stand in the way," he said.

"Come Saturday night, we're ready. We're ready to do what we have to and that's to get the victory."

Takam, 35, arrived in New Zealand last week and has sparred with local boxer Junior Fa, who beat Parker in their amateur days.

But Parker played down what special insights Takam might have gained from his rounds with Fa so close to the fight.

"I believe all the hard work has been done with the 12 weeks we had in Vegas and the 12 weeks that he had in Paris," he said.

"Right now, it's just keeping sharp, making sure everything is flowing properly, just eating healthy and getting a lot of good rest."

Takam has a record of 33 wins, two losses and a draw.

He said he didn't know much about Parker before he took on the fight but, having done his research, rated the New Zealander as a great young boxer.

But victory over Parker was hugely important for him at this stage of his career.

"He is in my path," Takam said.

"I think that with time he is going to be one of the best, but right now I'm here to win."

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