2013 review: Parker picks up heavyweight baton

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 24/12/2013
Joseph Parker
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
WHO NEXT?: Joseph Paker left Francois Botha in his wake.

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The same year a New Zealand boxing legend announced that his career was done, another South Aucklander and potential star of the sport announced himself to the New Zealand public.

David Tua's convincing points loss to Belarusian Alexander Ustinov in November was quickly followed by the 40-year-old calling time on his career.

He had one last tilt but come up well short as Ustinov jabbed his way to victory.

After a 21-year career in the professional ranks, Tua's time was up as he looked at life after boxing. It prompted many to reflect on Samoan-born Kiwi's remarkable career.

Unfortunately, much of his legacy hangs around the bust-up with his management, Kevin Barry and Martin Pugh, and also the fact that he struggled in his sole world title shot, against Lennox Lewis in 2000.

That heavyweight title fight, however, should in fact ensure Tua is remembered as one of New Zealand sports more notable figures. Anyone who put themselves in a position to fight for the world title during the late 1990s and early 2000s deserves to finish their time with plenty of credit.

The heavyweight boxing baton has now been passed to 21-year-old Joseph Parker as he looks to carve out a similar career to Tua, and in 2013 his name was thrust in front of New Zealand for all to see.

He had four fights, winning three of them in the first or second round.

The one that grabbed the most attention was against South African veteran Francois Botha in June.

Kevin Barry came on board in April as Parker's trainer, and looks to be having a positive impact as far as Parker's physique goes in particular.

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- Fairfax Media

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