New Zealand has produced some outstanding amateur heavyweights and super heavyweights. The super heavyweight division started in 1981. Looking back over the years we have seen some great fighters like Bill Kini, Bill Byrne, Maurice Strickland, Frank Creagh, Kevin Barry, Michael Kenny, David Tua, Paea Wolfgramm, Faii Falamoe, Garth DaSilva, Jimmy Peau, Shane Cameron, George Stankovich, all win New Zealand titles. This is only a small selection of our best big men, selected at random.
But it is the latest 18 year old super heavy Joseph Parker, that has the boxing world talking. I recently mentioned to David Tua that Joseph was going to be another David Tua. His reply, "Joseph will be a better boxer than David Tua ever was."
Trained at Papatoetoe Gym by his long time coach Grant Arkell, Joseph started out with Grant and former great Manny Santos some seven or eight years back.
He comes from a boxing-mad family. Younger brother John is already showing signs of being something out of the ordinary and father Dempsey was named after one of the heavyweight greats, Jack Dempsey.
Already this year Joseph has competed at two international tournaments and won a medal at each event. The first at Delhi, in India, was the Commonwealth Championships and Joseph won silver. At Azerbaijan a few weeks back Joseph defeated a Turkish boxer, a Cuban, and lost to a Croatian boxer 6-8. His coach Grant Arkell has often had to dip into his own pocket to get his fighters to tournaments, as boxing usually misses out on the funding. However that could soon change as Joseph is getting great results and should be our only fighter at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, later in the year.
In the meantime Joseph is training hard for his next overseas trip as he has been selected to fight at the World Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August. The Games will gather over 3,000 athletes from 170 countries.
Hopefully Joseph will make the Commonwealth Games and then the London Olympics. After all Olympic glory is his main aim, and then who knows. No doubt the professional scouts will be following his amateur career with great interest.
Joseph with medals
Just back from overseas trip--Joseph Parker
Joseph Parker----Paea Wolfgramm
Trainer Grant Arkell with match maker Boa Athu
Joseph watching the David Tua---Friday Ahunanya fight
Dave Cameron with Joseph Parker
John Parker--Dempsey Parker--Dave C
Ian Law looks at the two international medals Joseph has won in recent months