Boxing: Kiwi heavyweight Junior Fa books date for next fight

Junior Fa.
Junior Fa. Photo credit: Photosport

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Junior Fa has a date for his next fight - he's just waiting on an opponent.

The 29-year-old is a month removed from the demolition of Argentinian slugger Rogelio Omar Rossi in Christchurch on the Joseph Parker undercard.

Fa pummelled Rossi with a first-round knockout to improve his career record to 16-0, with nine knockouts.

That win sparked speculation over a potential all-New Zealand heavyweight showdown between Fa and former WBO champion Parker.

That talk was quashed quickly by Parker's trainer Kevin Barry, who questioned Fa's credentials, given the quality of opponents he has fought since his debut in 2016.

With Parker and Fa heading in different directions, Fa's camp, led by sports agent Mark Keddell and City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman, turned to American promoter Lou DiBella.

The 58-year-old was familiar with Fa's work, given his working relationship with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

Wilder called the Papakura native into his camp to help prepare for Tyson Fury in what turned out to be a Fight of the Year candidate late last year.

Fa impressed team Wilder, including DiBella, which has led to a marquee fight in the United States.

Fa, ranked ninth by the WBO, is set to headline the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic on March 2 in Columbus, Ohio, in a fight likely to be broadcast live on New Zealand television.

The only problem - his team can't find an opponent.

Boxing: Kiwi heavyweight Junior Fa books date for next fight

With Fa's reputation growing among heavyweight boxing pundits, he represents a tricky propsition for fighters ranked above him, who aren't willing to take a risk against the towering 1.95m (6ft 5in) orthodox fighter.

Keddell turned to a few familiar names to New Zealand boxing fans, including Razvan Cojanu and Alexander 'The Great' Flores - two heavyweights that have come up short against Parker.

Neither could agree to terms to fight Fa, so Keddell cast his net wider.

American journeyman Kevin Johnson turned down the fight, as did 37-year-old Rydell Booker, who has spent most of the past 15 years in a Michigan prison for possession of cocaine.

Booker had been a genuine heavyweight prospect as a 23-year-old, when he came up short against former world champion James Toney in 2004.

But Booker's asking price was also too high and he is now out of the picture.

Newshub understands that Fa and his management team are close to finally signing on the dotted line with an unnamed French heavyweight.

The next 12 months present a genuine opportunity for Fa to crack the top tier of heavyweight boxing - if only he could find someone willing to fight him.


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