Joseph Parker penciled in for Tua undercard

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2013
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
BIG HIT: Popular heavyweight boxer David Tua with boxing fan David McAnelly in Invercargill while promoting his next bout against Russian Alexander Ustinov in Hamilton on August 31, 2013.

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Joseph Parker will fight on the undercard of a 40-year-old David Tua, but don't expect the 21-year-old to be fighting at that age; he hopes to have swapped his gloves for a hammer by then.

The heavyweight is expected to be announced soon on Tua's undercard against a yet to be named opponent.

But in Christchurch this week Parker revealed to The Press he didn't expect to still be fighting when he was 30, let alone 40.

By that time he hoped to have been a world champion, "hopefully defended the title a few times" and be back finishing his education.

A younger Parker was given a scholarship to study building, but he put that on the back burner to become a professional fighter.

He wants to go back to that. Ideally he'd have a world heavyweight title belt as well as a tool belt.

"Maybe I'll fight a couple years after 30, because I'd be in my prime then, but I really don't want to fight for too long," Parker said.

"I want to look after my health and there's other things I want to do in my life."

Eating a sausage roll with a knife and fork, Parker's an imposing figure, but one with a beaming smile and a friendly handshake that turns into one of those half hug things more comfortable for the giver than the receiver.

He talks about his mother, his father and his four siblings with more pride than he talks about his recent win over Francois Botha.

The idea of being a qualified builder and being able to build houses appeals as much as world titles and the goodies that come with it.

He's 6-0 after his demolition job on Botha and is expected to fight a mid-level fighter on Parker's undercard on August 31 before another big fight later in the year, probably in Auckland, against a tougher opponent.

Parker's promoters Duco are staying tightlipped on an opponent for that bout, but a source close to Parker's camp said it would likely be against "a very handy boxer; a top 20 type guy with plenty of fights".

That's someone else's problem for now, not Parker's.

He's enjoying spending time with his family before he jets back to Las Vegas to again train with former Cantabrian Kevin Barry.

"I'm looking forward to getting back there, I learned so much last time and it improved my fighting heaps," he said, sausage roll well and truly gone.

"I really enjoyed the training, the learning, the sparring and just becoming a better boxer. But it's hard being away from my family."

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He Skyped his mother every day. She cried every day. That, he said, was harder than the sparring, daily 5.5 mile (8.85km) runs or Barry's three training sessions a day.

"Mate, I'm the biggest mumma's boy there is."

And that could be one of the biggest differences between Parker and other boxers; he's not as interested in the high-life and trappings, the fame or the money that winning boxing bouts brings.

Yes he wants to be good and yes wants to be a champion, but most of all, he says, he wants to make enough money to help his parents retire early to the house they built, with their children's help, in Samoa 10 years ago.

Mumma's boy indeed.

- Fairfax Media

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