It’s not heavyweight boxing without the drama. That’s for sure.
And so it’s hardly surprising to see Segiali’i David Higgins’ shenanigans in London on the eve of one of Lupesoliai Joseph Parker’s biggest fights in his career.
Tomorrow morning while most of us are at church, Samoa’s favourite son will step out of his comfort zone to defend the W.B.O belt against Hughie Fury in his backyard.
It’s an interesting fight for many reasons, certainly a big step up in terms of class and opponents for Lupesoliai. He doesn’t need to be reminded that his form during his last bout in New Zealand was not flash. He was poor, very, very sluggish.
Fury is another level up for Lupesoliai who needs to win this and win it well to get the attention of the U.K boxing community, where professional boxing is booming, heightened by the rise of stars like Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte and Tony Bellew.
Those in the know in terms of boxing believe that if Lupesoliai’s career is going to advance further, the U.K. is where he needs to make his mark.
They have a point.
Up until now, Lupesoliai has enjoyed a lot of success in his backyard, both in New Zealand and Samoa. While he is not a stranger to boxing on foreign soil, as far as the big time goes, this is it. Manchester is a long way from South Auckland and Apia.
And Fury is just the right man to test Lupesoliai. But if anybody thought that this is going to be a walk in the park for our world champion tomorrow, they might want to think again.
This will probably be Parker’s toughest fight yet. Fury is no slouch folks. While his method of training may have been a bit odd in the build up, the Brit is not just another bum off the ranks. The 23-year-old has not lost in 20 bouts and he is a former world youth boxing titleholder, an accolade Lupesoliai couldn’t secure a few years ago.
Boxing insiders say that Fury is a better fighter than most people give him credit for. He’s awkward, slick and he is methodical. Lupesoliai’s handlers need to pay attention to this.
Throughout the week, we’ve seen and read so much talk about Lupesoliai needing to make a statement. The behaviour – or rather misbehavior of his promoter, Segiali’I - during an embarrassing public spat a pre-fight press conference appeared to have been geared towards achieving that goal.
And those who know Lupesoliai would also know that his tone has changed a lot over the past few days, with Parker sounding a lot more brash than we’ve ever heard him before. That is fine. It’s part and parcel of the show and the more Lupesoliai grows into the division, it’s only going to get more interesting.
“I’m looking for the knockout,” Lupesoliai told Duncan Garner from London.
“Hopefully I can catch him on the chin or maybe the liver. If you tell me what you want, then I’ll do it.
“If the country wants him on the canvas then I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to knock him out.
“I’m feeling great. I have trained hard I feel strong, fast and powerful. I’m looking forward to putting a bash on someone.”
Lupesoliai added that he has seen fear in the eyes of his opponent.
“I saw his body shaking a little, he took a big swallow when I saw him in the face-off. I feel he is talking a big game to give himself confidence.
“I feel confident in my own ability when I go in there I am going to chase him down, get him in the corner and give him a bash and a beating.”
Well it’s great to hear our man feeling confident.
But let’s just hope he doesn’t get the occasion get the better of him.
We know Lupesoliai is such a lovely young man. He is a people’s champion and while he is a mean machine in the ring, he is certainly a gentle giant outside of it.
In the build up to this fight, he’s said he’s done the hard work. He’s also done the tough talking.
But now it’s time to back it up.
Personally, it doesn’t matter whether he wins by knock out or points, a win is a win and that should always be the focus. Besides, one slip up tomorrow could unravel all the hard work he’s done up until this point and we know who will be walking away with that W.B.O belt and it’s not our man.
Ou ou mama na, Lupesoliai!
Have a lovely weekend Samoa, God bless!