Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Joseph Parker makes ASB Classic appearance

Joseph Parker added to the star power at the ASB Classic on Wednesday, and was suitably awed by the presence of Serena and Venus Williams.

Parker, who is in the middle of a layoff after his historic title victory over Andy Ruiz in December, attended the ASB Classic on Monday and was back for more on Wednesday to see the famous American sisters.

"It was great to see world class players like Serena and Venus," said Parker. "It was quite a buzz. It's a very different environment here and I'm having a break from boxing."

Parker - wearing a hat and sunglasses - tried to go incognito at the ASB Classic on Wednesday, but was recognized by many well wishers as he moved through the crowds.

"It's been a big change," said Parker. "There are a lot more people knowing who I am, a lot more photographs and autographs but also a very humbling feeling to be in this position.

Parker also put his racquet skills to the test, with a game of table tennis in the Moet and Chandon Lounge against the doubles combination of Demi Schuurs (Netherlands) and Renata Voracova (Czech Republic).

"I think it went well," laughed Parker. "I went yesterday and practiced because they told me I was going to play. I think I need more practice but I think table tennis and tennis is all good for hand eye co-ordination and helps with boxing as well."

Parker will spend the next few weeks with his family - "that's the most important thing" - before returning to Las Vegas in February ahead of a big 2017 season.

"My ultimate goal is to unify the belts but I will fight anyone at this stage but it comes down to what makes sense money wise and fight wise," said Parker. "It is just a matter of sitting down with the team and coming up with a plan."

"[The] dream scenario would be to fight one of the guys with the belts, because I want to unify them and keep making New Zealand and Samoa proud. But if it doesn't happen for the next fight maybe it will happen for the fight after that."​

- NZ Herald

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