Powerhouse of positive life lessons
Boxing star's visit inspires Victory kidsJONATHAN MCKEOWN
When things aren't going his way, in life or in the ring, Joseph Parker says he draws on "the power within" to get him through.
Parker is in Nelson to promote his upcoming Hydr8 ZERO New Zealand National Boxing Federation title fight against Afa Tatupu on October 10.
Last night Parker and trainer Kevin Barry held a training session at the Victory Boxing Gym and this morning visited Victory School, meeting with pupils on the Victory Boxing programme who are learning life skills through boxing.
Parker, a big man with a kind smile, a genuine nature and a bullwhip right hand, also knocked out some honest advice for the youngsters.
He did so while being presented with a Victory singlet, taking photos, signing posters and chatting with the wide-eyed youths.
"If you have goals or aims in life, write them down," said Parker. "If you look at your goals every day then it will encourage you to try your best in all you do, be focused and stay determined."
But he acknowledges everyone faces testing situations. It may be in family life, at school or among peers. Parker said that if you place faith in yourself, you can never really lose.
"Know that the power comes from within, when you are tired, or you want to give up, dig deep. Dig deep for whatever reason, in boxing, in sport, in life.
"I had faith in myself, now I am making it slowly. I am on the right path, with the right people around me."
Growing up in Mangere, Parker said he got into boxing when he was 3 or 4 years old. Parker's father Dempsey, who is named after heavyweight Jack Dempsey, got him into the sport early as it was "his passion".
Parker said he was grateful to the sport for what it has done in his life and was thankful to his parents for introducing him to boxing. "Boxing has taught me to be disciplined, to be respectful to those around me. I am able to travel the world, meet a lot of people, and make new friends."
Parker was impressed with what the Victory Boxing programme was teaching, helping the leaders of tomorrow find self-confidence and respect.
"There are good life skills to be had in the sport," said Parker. "It is a big positive to see young kids coming to the gym, training hard, looking up to the likes of David Tua, Shane Cameron and possibly myself.
With Parker's star on the rise, many more youngsters may be putting up his poster in their rooms, a fact that seems to sit naturally with the positive powerhouse. "It is a great feeling and I feel like I can be a bit of a role model," said Parker. "But it is also a humbling feeling coming to the gym where there is a lot of kids that look up to you, to meet children that support me."
Parker promised to do his best to return to Nelson and repay their faith, most likely in his much anticipated Battle of Trafalgar in Nelson early next year.