Simon Plumb is a journalist for the Herald on Sunday

She's a knockout: Joseph Parker's baby Elizabeth arrives

Elizabeth Ah-Sue Sala Parker, the new daughter of Kiwi boxing champ Joseph Parker and Laine Tavita. Photo supplied by Joseph Parker
Elizabeth Ah-Sue Sala Parker, the new daughter of Kiwi boxing champ Joseph Parker and Laine Tavita. Photo supplied by Joseph Parker

Joseph Parker has become a dad a month before the biggest fight of his life - but the heavyweight champion has to wait a few more days before he can meet his "blessing" of a daughter.

Parker and high-school sweetheart Laine Tavita are the proud new parents of baby girl Elizabeth Ah-Sue Sala Parker.

A glowing Tavita said mum and daughter are home and doing well, while a pleased as punch Parker also spoke of his joy from Las Vegas - where he is putting in the final preparation for the biggest bout of his blossoming career.

"She was born on Monday last week," Parker told the Herald on Sunday. "It would have been nice to have been there to see her when she arrived, but I'm pretty focused on the task ahead.

"It's a blessing to have a daughter and I look forward to meeting her when I get back to New Zealand next week."

Parker, one of the hottest properties in New Zealand sport, has had to sacrifice a number of important family moments this month as he bears down one a huge step in his young career.

The champ has also had to miss his sister's wedding this month to focus on training. At the time, the 24-year-old paid tribute to his sister Elizabeth and her new husband Fonua Fuavao though, with a special blessing to the happy couple on his social media sites.

But now the man, who is often referred to as "Gentleman Joe", has paid his sister the ultimate complement, by naming his daughter after her.

"I watched the wedding through Skype and shed a few tears, I'm really close with my family and was pretty sad to miss the wedding as well," he said.

"It was also my mother's birthday the day before Elizabeth was born."

Baby Elizabeth also carries the name of Parker's mother Sala.

Parker says he is using the emotions of being away from his family as extra fuel for his WBO title fight against Andy Ruiz Jr at Vector Arena in 20 days' time.

"It's given me extra motivation to train harder for the fight," he said. "I want to win but also training hard for them because I've missed these special occasions."

Parker's December 10 showdown will be the first time New Zealand has ever hosted a heavyweight world title fight, in what's proving the hottest ticket in town.

Premium $20,000 ringside tables have been snapped up by eager punters and the event is close to selling-out entirely, with $800 tickets nearly the only general admission option remaining. Some extra $199 GA tickets have however now been added.

It's shaping up to be a million-dollar payday for Parker and his new family, with the fighters' fees an estimated $3.5m.

- Herald on Sunday

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