A champion in the making

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

The knock out win took a while but the Rumble in Paradise on Saturday night would do Lupesoliai Joseph Parker a world of good as he progresses to bigger and better things.  

We say the eighth round TKO is a fight he badly needed.

The fact is that if Parker is going to be a serious world title contender – as we know he is – he needs tougher opponents who can give him the rounds to truly test his resolve. Not only does he need the rounds, he needs solid punchers to test his chin and how much punishment he can endure.

So far in his career, Parker has swatted away most of his opponents in the early rounds so that when he came to Samoa he had hardly been tested. Which speaks of a couple of scenarios. 

One tells us that Parker is such a great fighter that no one so far has really tested him. Two his handlers have perhaps been playing the cautious card, throwing him average opponents for now to slowly build him up.

Either way, what we have seen so far has been nothing short of impressive. In Parker’s 18 professional fight career, all the indicators point to a future world champion should he continue on his current path. 

But that path unfortunately for one of Samoa’s favourite sons is only going get rockier and tougher from here onwards. 

And it started already with the fight against Bergman at the Tuanaimato Sports complex on Saturday.

Looking back to the events of last week, in the build up to the fight, most of us – if not all of us – expected Parker to walk in there and put away Bergman. Except for Bergman himself and his coach, the majority had predicted that the fight would not go past the third round. 

They had good reason of course. So far in his career, Parker’s hand speed, precision and power have been his main weapons of assault that have befallen all the men who have stood before him. 

Bergman though, as we now know, is a credible opponent. Fresh off some sparring sessions with highly ranked Deontay Wilder, Bergman did not come to Samoa to have a holiday.

On Saturday night when the bell rang, he made his intentions known quite quickly when he landed a powerful left on Parker that seemed to surprise him.

He shouldn’t have been. As his career progresses, Parker will have to learn to deal with more similar shots and ones that will be far more powerful than Bergman. It comes with the territory. 

At this point, it’s probably fair to say that we have yet to see a true test for Parker’s chin. While Bergman did land a couple of shots, they were far and few. Parker will soon realise that he will not always be that lucky. 

With the ultimate prize in the heavyweight division now within his sights, Parker will soon be confronting guys who punch a lot harder and have the ability to absorb Parker’s punches and retaliate.

Needless to say, Parker needs to be tested consistently and Saturday night’s fight was perfect for that purpose. 

Yes we saw Parker get hit, we saw him get frustrated but the best part was that in the process, he learnt to adapt to the environment, return to his strengths and it was from there he built the foundation for the win. It’s a good sign.

And credit to Bergman for enduring those shots because other fighters would have simply dropped and taken the count.

All in all, we are seeing a future world champion in Parker. All the hallmarks of a quality fighter are there. The best part is that he seems to be learning with every fight. And given more rounds under his belt, he can only get better. One day he will look back to this fight in Samoa and say that it played a huge role in shaping his future. It’s a future we can hardly wait for. 

Have a wonderful Tuesday Samoa, God bless!

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