Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Junior Fa looks to become next heavyweight titleholder from New Zealand

Junior Fa. Photo by Stephanie Trapp/ Showtime

Joseph Parker is one of three heavyweight titleholders in boxing.

He’s also the first and only champion in boxing’s glamour division from New Zealand.

But if Junior Fa has his say, that will soon change.

The 28-year-old defeated Parker twice in the amateurs and he’s already fought once in America.

He fights here for a second time Friday in Cleveland in an eight-round bout against Freddy Latham on ShoBox: The New Generation. In a division that rewards action, you’re always just one exciting performance away from recognition, and Fa surely realizes that.

“When I beat Joseph Parker, it was my movement and my footwork that was key,” said Fa, whose given first name is Uaine. “He’s such a big puncher I just kept moving because I didn’t want to stand right in front of that.

“For myself to be known, I’ll definitely have to fight in America. I don’t think I can make too much of a statement being back home in New Zealand. I think I can be three to four fights away for the chance at a world heavyweight title. I have to be entertaining in this fight for the American people to get to know me.”

Fa is promoted by Lou DiBella, who knows a thing or two about heavyweights. The New Yorker programmed HBO’s boxing slate in the 90s and believes the 28-year-old has the potential to make a name for himself.

“Tonight’s an important night for him, he’s gotta perform,” said DiBella. “He’s gotta look good. He’s a work in progress. He’s still a young heavyweight.

“He’s got size and a lot of speed for a big man. He can box and he’s got the physical tools. He’s from the same tribe as David Tua. He’s a big Samoan kid. He’s got that big style.”

In a sport always looking for fresh faces at heavyweight, Fa is here. Now he needs to put in the work and capitalize on his opportunity.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger