Parker votes, 'easy decision'

WBO world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker casts a special vote in London for the NZ elections.

New Zealand boxing star Joseph Parker has cast his special vote in London for the New Zealand election, eager to get that out of the way ahead of his WBO world heavyweight title defence.

Parker makes his British debut when he fights Hughie Fury in Manchester on the same day as the New Zealand election.

The proud Kiwi was happy to tick that off amidst another day of business and pleasure in the British capital on Wednesday.

"It's important for me to vote, it's important for every New Zealander to vote. For me it was an easy decision, I know who I wanted to vote for," Parker said as he filled out his form at New Zealand House.

 "Voting is important but my fight's more important so I guess I didn't want the distraction of voting when its fight time so I had to get in there early and get my vote in."

While in London, Parker also met one of his fans - Sir Jerry Mateparae, the New Zealand High Commissioner to the UK. Mateparae, initially a SAS soldier, was a former Governor General and chief of the New Zealand Defence Force.

"Joe follows in the footsteps of some pretty amazing boxers and New Zealanders and, not looking too far ahead, there's a fight in a few days time and that's what he needs to be concentrating on," Mateparae said in London.

"But equally, it's about the legacy he leaves and the legacy he contributes about our boxing heritage which is as much about New Zealand as it is about the All Blacks and New Zealand.

"So he's at the top of his game, he's at the top of the world. On his belt says world champion. There aren't too many people in the world who have got 'world champion'."

Mateparae felt Parker represented many Kiwi values with his stature and dedication.

"The people who came to New Zealand, whether they came on a canoe a thousand years ago or a ship 100 years ago, or are still coming to New Zealand, one of the essences of being there is the challenge.

"The fact that you've got to fight for things and the fact that you display those qualities of commitment, of courage and of camaraderie because, at the end of the day, when Joe gets in the ring, that's what its about. Fight tooth and nail at the start, at the end its about respecting, its about the mateship which comes out of that hard fought fight."

Parker, who spends plenty of time in the United States when he's not in New Zealand, is enjoying his surroundings and visiting London's tourist attractions while also finishing off his final preparations for the fight.

"I thought I would be in my hotel room relaxing and chilling but actually going out to see different sites, to see the architecture of the place ... everything is clicking at the moment, training's gone well, sparring's gone good, what can I say, we are a happy camp," Parker said.

Having had a public training session on Tuesday, Parker went behind closed doors on Wednesday for sparring with American heavyweight Malik Scott who travelled with Parker's team to Britain.

"We did a good six rounds sparring," Parker said, working on techniques designed for Fury, whom he is adamant he will beat.

"Am I nervous? No. Why am I not nervous because I've trained hard and when I train hard, I'm going to win? I'm going to knock someone out



Photo by: PHOTOSPORT.NZ (Caption: New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker casts his special vote in London ahead of the election).