Feature | Issue | Premium | Sep 06 2019

‘I can’t curse. Whenever I do I have my mum on the phone telling me off.’ Joseph Parker might be too nice for this sport

Joseph Parker is the only man to beat Andy Ruiz Jnr and the only opponent Anthony Joshua failed to hurt yet he’s been deemed ‘too nice’ to be a champion again. But Declan Taylor is left with a different impression at the New Zealander’s training base in Nevada
Joseph Parker
Action Images/Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

THE FORMER WBO heavyweight champion of the world perches on a kitchen stool while aggressively dispatching his first meal of the day. Beside him on the work surface stands a box of oatmeal crudely labelled ‘JOE’S’ in permanent marker. Joseph Parker is back in Nevada and back to business.

His boxing life has followed much the same pattern since he decided to up sticks and move in with long-time trainer Kevin Barry in Henderson, just a few miles outside Las Vegas and only a few minutes away from the gym in which he trains. Back home in New Zealand, however, his life is changing at a rapid pace. “I’ve got three children under three now,” he tells Boxing News with a smile. “That’s crazy.”

As he thumbs through the hundreds of photos of his young daughters that fill up his phone, the quiet and unassuming 27-year-old does not necessarily seem like a man capable of winning a version of the world heavyweight title, much less reclaiming one. But that is the goal now for the former WBO titlist, beaten twice, who takes on Dereck Chisora on October 26 in a fight which will shape which way his career goes from here on in.

Joseph Parker
New Zealand’s Parker is an unassuming heavyweight Esther Lin/Showtime