Warriors players including Manu Vatuvei's brother ( centre red ) Lopini Vatuvei pose for a photo with boxer Joseph Parker at the end of a Vodafone Warriors training session. NRL Rugby League. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Tuesday 24 June 2014. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.co.nz

Parker firms links with Vodafone Warriors

Kiwi heavyweight champion Joseph Parker has an important date with the Vodafone Warriors before his big fight night against American Brian Minto in the Hydr8 Zero Heavyweight Explosion on July 5.

Parker arrived home from his Las Vegas base on Monday ahead of the bout at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City and just 24 hours later he was at Mount Smart Stadium watching the Vodafone Warriors train before joining the players and coaching staff for a photo opportunity.

Parker dabbled with rugby league as a teenager with the Mangere East Hawks before finding boxing suited him more.

A great supporter of the Vodafone Warriors, he has links with many of the players, especially veteran winger Manu Vatuvei.

Parker has been tweeting messages of support from Las Vegas to the Vodafone Warriors every week of the NRL season and will be a special guest at their home game against the Penrith Panthers this Sunday. He’ll be interviewed in the Club Lounge and the Legends of League Lounge in the East Stand as well as making an on-field appearance in front of the crowd.

Joining Parker at the NRL team’s training session on Tuesday was Lopini Vatuvei, Manu’s 41-year-old brother – known as MVP Horse – who is on the Parker v Minto undercard fighting Dave ‘Brown Buttabean’ Letele. Horse says he has lost close to 20kgs for what will be his first fight in a ring.

Vodafone Warriors players will be there in numbers to support Parker and MVP Horse when they fight on July 5.

But first the two fighters will be backing the Vodafone Warriors against Penrith on Sunday.