Aussie battler Kali Meehan to fight Kiwi Joseph Parker in October
THERE was a time when the three small sons of Australian heavyweight boxer Kali Meehan would ask him for something to eat and there would be nothing in the cupboard but rice.
Kali made peanuts from boxing but eked out a living for his wife and three growing boys by working on nightclub doors into the early hours and then on the pre-dawn garbage run for a Sydney council.
Hard times made him a hungry fighter and he became perhaps the best heavyweight boxer Australia has produced, going within a whisker of winning the WBO world heavyweight title in Las Vegas in 2004 and going the distance in another world title eliminator in Germany in 2010.
Kali Meehan, left, and Joseph Parker at a press conference in Auckland for their October fight.
Now 45, and as heavy-fisted as ever, he is returning to the ring on October 15 in Auckland for one last hurrah against New Zealand’s best boxer Joseph Parker, the undefeated world No.8 who just scored a first-round KO over fellow Aussie Bowie Tupou.
On the same card Brisbane’s Jeff Horn will likely fight either Canada’s Kevin Bizier or South Africa’s California-based Chris van Heerden.
Victory will probably propel him to a top-two position as a challenger for IBF welterweight champ Kell Brook of England. He is the No.10 contender for Floyd Mayweather’s WBA championship and is nursing six stitches above his left eye after a technical decision win over Ukraine’s Victor Plotnikov in Invercargill, New Zealand on Saturday night.
After years of small boxing purses and late-night shifts on the door, Meehan has never been in such demand, winning his last four fights, collecting $200,000 to win New Zealand’s Super 8 tournament last year and a similar purse to dominate Kiwi veteran Shane Cameron in November.
Kali Meehan and his son Willis. Picture: Chris McKeen
With 42 wins in 47 fights he told a press conference in Auckland yesterday that he was thrilled for the chance to win another huge fight in the city where he was raised.
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Two of his now well-fed sons Willis and Louis, giants who play for the Sydney Roosters, will be in his corner.
“Win, lose or draw this is going to be my last fight and I want to end my career where it all began,” Meehan said.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know a young fighter like Joseph will be instructed to tire me out but I’m ready for a war.
“I’m prepared for 12 rounds and want to end on a high.”
The 23-year-old Parker is undefeated after 15 fights.
Melbourne’s Stuart Duncan, who put the fight together said: “Kali is a big man, has legitimate power in his right hand and plenty of ring savvy. Joseph is a heavy favourite but Kali is a clear and present danger, he’s highly motivated and has kept himself in good nick.
“Sometimes an older fighter can turn back the clock and summon the old magic. Meehan is motivated and capable of rediscovering lightning in a bottle.”