Boxing: Joseph Parker vows to put legal battle behind him, focus on ring

Heavyweight boxing star Joseph Parker has vowed to put his two-year legal battle behind him, as he prepares for his next in-ring fight in May.

The former WBO world champion has been confirmed as the sportsperson allegedly linked to an international drug ring conspiracy, after the Supreme Court lifted name suppression on Friday.

Parker's name was mentioned several times during the May 2019 drug-trafficking trial of Tevita Fangupo, Tevita Kulu and Toni Finau. The latter two were eventually jailed for 18 and 17 years respectively.

The Supreme Court finally dismissed Parker's application for continued name suppression, saying it was not satisfied "in the interests of justice" that suppression should remain in place.

But Parker - through barrister Michael Heron - has revealed the toll this saga has taken on him and his family over the past two years.

"This has been going on for ages now and it takes a toll," he says. "I haven't been charged with anything and it doesn't feel right that my name will be connected to matters I've had no chance to defend myself against.

"It's a terrible position to be in. Things have been said about me that are quite untrue - some of them have already been proven untrue - and I was given no chance to respond at the time they were made.

"It's caused a lot of stress and worry for myself and my family - and it just seems totally wrong.

"Having said that, I need to accept the decision and get on with my life. I have other fights to fight."

During their investigation into the case, police obtained a warrant to search Parker's home and seize his phone, but he was overseas at the time.

"Mr Parker was investigated by the police, who found there was insufficient evidence on which to charge him." says Heron. "The police made a public statement confirming that, after questions were raised with them.

"Despite the lack of evidence against him, unfounded allegations were made against Mr Parker in court. Those allegations were not supported by evidence, were unnecessary and were unfair.

"Unfortunately, those matters were beyond the control of Mr Parker."

Ironically, Parker is currently in London, finalising arrangement for his next fight against fellow heavyweight contender Derek Chisora later this year.