The nation of Samoa has delivered a knock out deal, stepping in to fund Joseph Parker’s heavyweight WBO title fight against Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr in Auckland this Saturday.
Joseph Parker was born in New Zealand but is of Samoan heritage. He follows the footsteps of another Polynesian great, David Tua, who also went for the title against the great Lennox Lewis sixteen years ago in Las Vegas. With his stature and rigorous training regime, pundits believe the odds are in Parker’s favour.
In a sponsorship deal, Samoa’s majestic land and seascapes, white sand beaches, lush forests and rich culture will be showcased during the televised fight, with a special role for the Prime Minister, The Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi who will be present to introduce the main event. There will also be a ceremonial introduction prior to the national anthems being performed.
At a press conference just two days out from the much anticipated fight, Parker’s trainer says he’s the best prepared he has been in the last two years. "This is an epic event with historic values with two young fighters trying to cement their place in their countries' histories," Barry said.
Although born in Auckland and a ‘hard-out Kiwi’, 24-year-old Parker speaks Samoan and visits Samoa every year to spend time with family and enjoy the Samoan way of life. In Samoa Parker is referred to as Lupesoliai La'auli – the name is a sign of respect and was bestowed upon him from his mother’s village as appreciation for what he has achieved for Samoa – La’auli can be translated as warrior.
Parker goes into the fight with a 21–0 record with 18 wins by KO, while Ruiz has a 29–0 record with 19 KO victories.
The man himself says he is more than ready to take on Andy Ruiz, "I want to win it well, I want to be a part of history," Parker said.
The fight will take place at Auckland’s Vector Arena at 7.30pm on 10 December 2016.
Watch a tour of Joseph Parker's Samoan backyard.