The future of kiwi boxer Joseph Parker is now in the court of public opinion after the former heavyweight champion was exposed as a sports star police yesterday, the claim is linked to a major international conspiracy of drug imports and deliveries

Parker was not charged on the case – police said there was insufficient evidence – and fought for two years to keep his name secret at hearings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal

Yesterday the Supreme Court ended Parker’s nondisclosure offer after ordering his name suppression to expire

“This coming out is boxing’s worst-kept secret,” said Mark Keddell, Junior Fa manager, who dealt with Parker ahead of their February game in Auckland

The most important thing to Parker, whom he described as “a really nice guy,” was how he handled the fallout

“He is now more in the public opinion court than in the courts it’s a fun old game of boxing because sometimes a bit of controversy like this can help with notoriety “

Devoted boxing fans may not go away, but others may “put their support elsewhere,” which could impact future marketing and sponsorship

“[The news] doesn’t diminish his competence in the ring, but it makes him less marketable”

The 29-year-old, who held the WBO heavyweight title from 2016 to 2018, wanted to hide his identity after the prosecution named him during the 2019 trial against Tevita Fangupo, Tevita Kulu and Toni Finau

The three men were jailed for importing large quantities of methamphetamine disguised in Nike shoes and clothing declared as gifts

Although not charged, the Crown allegedly played a role in Parker’s importation of methamphetamine through transportation and currency exchange

“I have never changed or transported money for the accused. I have never been involved in the purchase, delivery, or consumption of methamphetamine

“I was also not charged by the police regarding the specific messages allegedly related to me, after what appeared to be a thorough investigation”

The father of three received support yesterday, including from the Middlemore Foundation, where Parker was ambassador for three years

“We stand with Joseph,” said CEO Sandra Geange, describing the boxer as an “incredible advocate” for the foundation

“We have seen the positive impact he has made in South Auckland through our work in the community. We look forward to continuing our work with him for years”

“Joseph Parker is not a criminal. He has not been convicted of a crime. He has not even been charged”

Mad Butcher chief executive Michael Morton said he had “no comment” when asked if his company would continue sponsoring Parker

National leader Judith Collins, who is Parker’s aunt, also refused to comment, a spokesman said

“I can confirm that Judith Collins first heard of these allegations late Thursday night,” said the spokesman

In a statement from QC attorney Michael Heron, Parker said he and his family had been placed in a “dire situation”

“Things have been said about me that are quite wrong Some of them have already been proven to be untrue and I haven’t had a chance to answer them at the time of writing”

“It has caused a lot of stress and worry for me and my family – and it just seems completely wrong

“Having said that, I have to accept the decision and get on with my life. I have other struggles to contend with”

Questions were asked about the police investigation and a High Court judge stated that “there are doubts” how thorough the officers’ investigation into Parker was

Police tried to interview Parker but he exercised his right to remain silent A search warrant was also obtained on his house but never executed Detective Inspector Scott Beard yesterday defended the investigation against the Auckland City Organized Crime Unit, saying Parkers “Status and profile” would have no influence on the result

“While police found evidence that this athlete knew all of the men who were accused and subsequently convicted, police applied the Attorney General’s law enforcement guidelines and found that there was insufficient evidence to initiate a prosecution”

Heron said a senior executive reiterated whether there was reliable, credible evidence that they had indicted Parker

“The evidence was admissible against the men on trial and their attorneys had an opportunity to offer a counter-argument Mr. Parker didn’t have that The jury made no decisions about Mr. Parker”

Parker is now moving on with his new regime, with a new coach, after breaking up – by mutual agreement – with longtime coach Kevin Barry last week

Joseph Parker

World news – AU – The future of the kiwi boxer Joseph Parker after alleged connection to the drug conspiracy – NZ Herald