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Spy: Parker's heavyweight fans

Joseph Parker and Mike Tyson in Las Vegas.
Joseph Parker and Mike Tyson in Las Vegas.

In two weeks, Kiwi boxing sensation Joseph Parker returns from his Las Vegas base to try to secure a likely world title shot in the richest boxing event to be held in New Zealand.

He is taking on Cameroon-born Frenchman Carlos Takam, 35, at the Vodafone Events Centre for the $1 million purse. Should Parker win, he could fight for the IBF heavyweight title against current title holder and British boxing star, 26-year-old Anthony Joshua.

Parker, 24, is an absolute gentleman and in his time in Vegas has garnered some pretty famous fans. They include former boxing champions Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya and controversial British professional boxer and current lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, who beat champion Wladimir Klitschko last year.

Usually Fury has a reputation for making disparaging remarks about everyone in the heavyweight division but he has nothing but praise for Parker. In a TV interview six months ago he described Parker as "the future of heavyweight boxing". Since then the pair often tweet each other.

Just two weeks ago in a promotion for his upcoming rematch with Klitschko, Fury said: "Joseph Parker, I really rate him. I'd like to share the ring with him."

New Zealand will be in heavyweight heaven when that day comes. It's not only pugilists who are fans of Parker. The president of the Mixed Martial Arts organisation Ultimate Fighting Championship, (UFC), Dana White, is a big fan, too, and often has Parker along to UFC events. At one, he met MMA champion, the notoriously mouthy Irishman, Conor McGregor.

- Spy.co.nz

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