The family shock that nearly stopped Joseph Parker's world title fight

Publish Date
Saturday, 23 June 2018, 9:23AM
Photo/Instagram

Photo/Instagram

Joseph Parker's preparation for his world heavyweight championship unification bout against Anthony Joshua took a major hit with the distressing news that his younger brother John had been diagnosed with a potentially fatal brain condition.

Former, current & future champions @gypsyking101 @joeboxerparker #TeamFury #TeamParker

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John, 24, was scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Joshua v Parker clash in Cardiff in April but a routine pre-bout physical examination in New Zealand discovered an aneurysm, throwing his life, not to mention his boxing career, into a state of flux.

The bombshell is revealed in a Sky Sport NZ documentary Joseph Parker: Metamorphosis, which follows Parker and his team in the build-up to and immediate aftermath of the main event at the Principality Stadium, won by decision after 12 rounds by Englishman Joshua. It was Parker's first loss as a professional.

The reasons for John's withdrawal from the fight card were never made clear – there was talk of a hand injury  but it was never made clear.

A brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel, which, if it ruptures, is often deadly. The Herald understands John will see a specialist next month, with surgery a possibility.

"I called my dad at home and we had a good chat," Joseph says. "We had a few good laughs. And out of nowhere he said 'oh yeah, your brother's not fighting'. Why is that? 'Oh, there's something wrong with his brain.' I said 'what do you mean, dad?'. He said it so casually."

Fight day for the uso @joeboxerparker 👊 you got this champ! #AndStill #TeamParker

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Clearly there was concern not only for John but also how the news would affect Joseph before the biggest fight of his life.

John, a talented amateur who has had four professional fights, "This was my first international fight and under international rules I had to get a full body scan to make sure I was eligible to fight. After the scan they contacted my coach Bryan Barry and he called me up. He said 'Look John, it's really important, I need you to come home.' That was unusual. I thought, 'Oh damn, what have I done, I'm sure I hung up my washing'.

"I sat down and he said 'I have to let you know, you absolutely can't fight'. I said 'why?'. He said, 'there's something in your brain, you have an aneurysm'."

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.