Topic: Boxing

Parker’s support crew to perform haka if he wins world title

By Tamati Tiananga
  • Auckland

Expect a haka to be performed from Parker's camp if he is victorious on Saturday at Vector Arena when he faces Mexican boxer Andy Ruiz Jr for the WBO World Title.  

“If all goes well and we get that title, I think the boys in my team would have prepared a haka just to give thanks and it’s really important we do show appreciation of what’s happening here in New Zealand and what has happened in the ring”. 

The historical title bout to be staged in New Zealand for the first time in Heavyweight Boxing history will be a significant moment for Parker who has built a record 21 wins, defeating the likes of former world title contender Kali Meehan, Francois Botha and Brian Minto who defeated former New Zealand Champion Shane Cameron in 2013. 

“Defining moment and the event it’s the biggest boxing event New Zealand has ever hosted and its part of history”. 

Parker has built his career over three years and will become just the second New Zealand heavyweight boxer to contest for a world title, second to David Tua who was unsuccessful in 2000 against Lennox Lewis.  

"It’s pretty amazing the journey. I have been through and I see myself as not only an Auckland fighter but New Zealand fighter. We have taken the fights all over the country and I see it as everyone been there on the ride seeing me grow up seeing me fight, seeing progression”. 

The 24-year-old’s boxing skills has caught the eyes of many former world champions. In 2014 while in Pennsylvania to fight Keith Thompson he met former world champion Larry "Easton Assassin" Holmes. Parker’s professional career has been praised by many big names in boxing for his speed and power.

“There has been a lot of support, Evander (Evander Holyfield - Former World Champion) Lewis (Lennox Lewis - Former World Champion) and a lot of other top athletes that I look up to and idols in boxing. But with the Samoan Government stepping in and putting in funding, without the help this fight wouldn’t be able to happen”.

Parker adds religion plays a key part in grounding the NZ heavyweight.  Parker is a member of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“With my religious up-bringing it’s very important to take that with me and it has helped keep me humbled and he helped me keep the same person that I am ever since I started boxing”.

His walk out song choice is a no-brainer, Parker confirms he will use English singer-songwriter Phil Collins song “In the Air Tonight". The 80’s hit was previously used for his fight against Carlos Takam in Manukau on May 21.

At first, the song seemed an odd choice for Parker who wasn’t even born when it was released as the lead single from Collins' debut solo album, Face Value, in January 1981. But Parker says the lyrics suit the occasion. 

“It’s the same that I used for the Takam fight and I felt it was electric and the atmosphere was crazy and I think it will be a suitable song”.

The former Auckland's Marcellin College pupil returned to his former school this week., Parker sees this as an opportunity to share his journey with students and teachings. 

“Hopefully we can motivate and inspire some young kids when I was there Monty (Monty Betham - Former Warrior). He actually inspired us when he gave his speech and hopefully I have the same influence and hopefully John (younger brother - John Parker) can say a few words to uplift them as well”.

If all goes to plans Parker will take a long overdue holiday for the first time in three years with family, friends and new born baby girl Elizabeth Ah-Sue Sala Parker to high-school sweetheart Laine Tavita.