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Kiwi heavyweight looks to make boxing mark

He’s the rising kiwi heavyweight boxer with strong Australian connections who calls Alex Leapai brother and hopes to fight the Australian world title contender one day.


Joseph Parker (7-0, 6 KOs) will fight on the undercard of Leapai’s challenge to quadruple heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko in Germany early on Sunday (AEST).

Trainer Kevin Barry rates Parker the best fighter to come out of New Zealand since he convinced another heavyweight, David Tua, to turn pro more than 20 years ago.

Parker, 22, has already struck up a good friendship with Leapai.

“I get along well with Alex. We met in New Zealand and met again here,” Parker told AAP.

“I call him my brother and he’s looking in great shape, looking real lean, so I can’t wait to see him in action.

“I’m sitting down with my team and discussing which fights we should take and I’m sure one day if I keep improving, I might fight someone like Leapai or (another Australian heavyweight) Lucas Brown.”

Parker, who will fight a taller Brazilian opponent this weekend, is no stranger to Australia, having fought here as an amateur and has relatives scattered across the country.

“They live all around Australia, Sydney, Brisbane, some in Perth,” Parker said.

“Aunties, cousins, a lot of my family moved from New Zealand to Australia so I go now and then to visit them and see how they are.”

Parker will get invaluable international exposure this weekend, when Australian and American fight fans get their first chance to watch him.

“They will see a very well-skilled fighter – a young man with terrific hand speed, with an excellent selection of punches and somebody who has ring generalship far beyond his years,” Barry said.