Young boxer with an ambitious reach
Exciting young New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has some pretty lofty goals he wants to achieve.
When the 21-year-old sat ringside last month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas - for what was regarded as the richest boxing fight - the desire to reach those goals simply burned more intensely.
When he attended the Floyd Mayweather Jr-Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fight the South Auckland youngster saw boxing at its pinnacle and now he wants to one day be on a similar stage.
At US$20 million ($24m) it was the biggest gate for a fight. Ringside seats went for US$2000 a pop.
The demand for tickets meant even well known celebrities who are normally handed tickets were dipping into their own pockets to be part of the night.
American Richard Moriarty, a principal and founder of investment bankers Union Gaming Group, is financially backing Parker and he organised tickets for the New Zealand talent and trainer Kevin Barry to get up close to the Mayweather-Alvarez action.
"To see it first hand was a great opportunity, it has probably been one of the biggest motivations for me just seeing that. It's given me another goal to try my best to get there," Parker said.
"Before going to Vegas to work with Kevin I wasn't really a Mayweather fan, but I've been to two fights now and I'm a big fan. He's dedicated to what he does and he's a great athlete. Moving around like that for 12 rounds is hard, I've tried it for about three rounds and I was wasted. So just seeing his defence and technique it was real great to see it live. It has motivated me a lot to try my best."
In a night Parker will never forget he also got to mix and mingle with the rich and famous.
"The seats we had were great seats, we had a great view. The guy in front of us was Dana White who is the owner of the UFC and the guy in front of him is the owner of the MGM, about the 10th richest man in the world. It's safe to say it was a great experience."
It will not quite be the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and won't capture the worldwide attention that the Mayweather Jr-Alvarez showdown did, but for New Zealand boxing followers and in particular the Parker camp next Thursday night in Waitakere is important.
Parker will take on Afa Tatupu in a New Zealand National Boxing Federation title.
Parker is expected to have few troubles in extending his professional record to seven wins without a loss, but there will be plenty of interest in just what sort of performance he rolls out.
- © Fairfax NZ News