Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Literally the case for former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.
Parker revealed that, at his most successful point, he was living out his boxing career for the benefit of others.
The now 30-year-old, who takes on Joe Joyce in a huge Manchester blockbuster on September 24, became WBO ruler in December 2016.
He defeated Andy Ruiz on home soil in Auckland via a hotly-debated split decision. Parker won the title vacated by Tyson Fury.
It has now been declared that Joyce-Parker will be fighting for the status of becoming WBO Interim world heavyweight champion at the AO Arena.
The ‘Nowhere to Run’ blockbuster on September 24 is being shown exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office and is promoted by Frank Warren for Queensberry Promotions in association with BOXXER.
In what should have been a period of great fulfillment six years ago, there was something missing for Joseph Parker that he struggled with at the time. He can now put this void down to chasing dreams that weren’t his own.
Becoming a parent for the first time to Elizabeth made Parker understand his own discontent at the time. He should have been embracing national hero status in his native New Zealand.
“When I wasn’t a father, I was doing boxing for myself because I enjoyed it, but mostly for others,” explained Parker on the Unibet Lowdown.
“I’m not sure how this sounds, but I was doing it more for my dad because it was his dream. I was doing it more for my coach Kevin (Barry), who wanted to have a heavyweight world champion.
“When I achieved it, I sort of wasn’t the happiest, maybe because it was for them. Now that I have my wife and my kids. I am a lot more motivated in boxing because I want to do it for myself and my immediate family.”
If the tale sounds familiar, it is because Parker’s great friend and training partner Tyson experienced similar emotions on becoming a unified champion and subsequently spiraled into a mire of severe mental health issues that he recovered from in a most remarkable way.
“I think I went through precisely the same thing. But I didn’t look at it as mental health at the time.
“Now I have had more discussions about it. Maybe I did go through the same thing. I just didn’t realize.
“I was still training and fighting but wasn’t enjoying it. And I didn’t want to associate with people and didn’t want to talk.
“But I was out there doing this and that. I was still fighting but wasn’t training correctly.
“I wasn’t doing anything right because I didn’t want to do it. But I was still doing it and doing it with no purpose.
“Now I have a purpose. Now I am motivated. But now I am driven. I have my wife and my kids at home, who I have left.
“I have missed a lot of special occasions because of this goal that I have.”
Parker has set out clear goals for the remaining chapters of his boxing story. While returning to the heavyweight top table features strongly, he is more about the here and now and taking as much as he can from every single experience.
“I don’t write them down. But I do have them in my head. I should write them down. That would be a good thing to do.
“My goal, further out there, is to be heavyweight champion of the world.
“I think it would be amazing to have a fighter from New Zealand and Samoa be a two-time world champion.
“The goal is to appreciate each fight, enjoy the moment. To live in the moment, and be present.
“If I think about stuff way down there, I will not enjoy the process. I want to enjoy the training, the food, and everything that is involved with the camp.
“I want to enjoy going home and seeing my family after a camp. But, for now, I am in camp. I am going to enjoy every single moment of it.
“Now it is about the journey. The destination will take care of itself.”
As well as the huge Joe Joyce vs. Joseph Parker clash, Amanda Serrano will be bidding to win four world title belts at featherweight when the Puerto Rican superstar makes her UK debut and battles the unbeaten Dane Sarah Mahfoud.
Queensberry fighters Anthony Cacace, Ekow Essuman, Nathan Heaney, Raven Chapman, and Mark Heffron all feature in the supporting cast.
The September 24 ‘Nowhere to Run’ blockbuster at the AO Arena, Manchester, is a fight night not-to-be-missed.
Tickets for ‘Nowhere to Run’ – the heavyweight clash between Joe Joyce and Joe Parker on September 24 at the AO Arena, Manchester, being shown exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office – are priced from £40 and are on sale now exclusively from Ticketmaster.co.uk.