Joseph Parker to fight Aussie slugger in highest ranked heavyweight bout in NZ

Invercargill will host the highest-ranked heavyweight boxing bout ever staged in New Zealand with Joseph Parker challenging Australian Bowie Tupou (25-3) for his WBO African title over 12 rounds at Stadium Southland on August 1.

Tupou is almost 6'3" and is expected to weigh-in at an imposing 120kilograms.

Adding further interest to the trans-Tasman showdown will be the 23-year-old Kiwi also putting his WBO Oriental and WBA PABA Heavyweight titles as the to the Title moves up a gear.

Parker was originally scheduled to face Kyotaro Fujimoto until the Japanese champion unexpectedly pulled out of the bout following that devastating second round knockout of German champion Yakup Saglam in Palmerston North last Saturday.

"Joe has so much more to gain if he can beat Bowie Tupou anyway so Fujimoto running scared has turned out to be a blessing in disguise," says promoter Dean Lonergan.

"There's no doubt a convincing win over a guy ranked 13th in the WBO will fast track us towards our overall goal of being top five by the end of the year".

The August 1 bout is also a showdown of the boxing brains with Parker's world-renowned trainer Kevin Barry battling wits against International Boxing Hall of Famer, Jeff Fenech, who is in Tupou's corner.

Fenech, who has previously trained Mike Tyson, is also a three-time former world champion.