Joseph Parker vis­its old school

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

A sweaty Joseph Parker was mobbed by Mar­cellin Col­lege stu­dents try­ing to get up close with the heavy­weight boxing star on Tues­day.

Parker took time out of his busy sched­ule pre­par­ing for the big­gest fight of his ca­reer - the WBO world heavy­weight ti­tle fight against Andy Ruiz to­mor­row - to visit the school.

A for­mer stu­dent of the col­lege, Parker was also spe­cial guest at their ju­nior sports award, and was joined by his brother John.

‘‘I’m sorry for all the sweat guys,’’ Parker could be heard telling stu­dents as they lined up for a photo with him.

The stu­dents did not mind at all. Nor did the teach­ers as they waited in line and posed with the most fa­mous sports star to ever come out of the school.

Faith Ah Wa who took out the col­lege’s ju­nior girls touch player of the year and mid­dle school sports girl of the year was be­side her­self.

‘‘I can’t be­lieve I shook his hand, he shook my hand,’’ Ah Wa said.

‘‘I was really sur­prised that he was the one who pre­sented us with our awards.

‘‘I knew he was go­ing to be here but I didn’t know he would be giv­ing me my cer­tifi­cates him- self.

Ah Wa who plays net­ball, touch rugby, net­ball and bas­ket­ball said it meant a lot to her and other award win­ners to have been pre­sented their cer­tifi­cates by Parker.

The col­lege’s ju­nior boy’s soft­ball most valu­able player Marakulis Heka said he was ner­vous when he was called up to re­ceive his cer­tifi­cate from Parker.

‘‘He’s just great you know. I felt so proud to be ac­cept­ing my cer­tifi­cate and I’m proud of Parker - he’s really put the school’s name up there,’’ Heka says.

Parker left the col­lege with four words he fa­mously writes on his boxing gloves for big fights: ’’power comes from within’’.

‘‘It’s what I say when I write on gloves or posters... it means, what- ever you have, what­ever goals or any­thing that you aim aim to achieve in life, use the power that comes from within.

‘‘If you ac­tu­ally give it 100 per cent, fo­cus, stay de­ter­mined than you can achieve any­thing in life.’’

Parker isn’t the only boxer to come out of Mar­cellin.

For­mer New Zealand cruis­er­weight cham­pion Monty Betham also at­tended the school.

Parker did not mind wait­ing around to have his pic­ture taken with ev­ery stu­dent of the col­lege.

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