Parker needs to take one step at a time and focus

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

One step at a time. That’s something Lupesoliai Laauliolemalietoa Joseph Parker’s handlers should insist on as Samoa’s new favourite son prepares for tonight’s bout against giant Russian, Alexander Dimitrenko. 

Up against a giant of a man who has had 40 fights with only two losses, the odds are against Lupesoliai. The equation becomes even more unfavourable for Parker when we stop to consider that he has everything to lose while his opponent has everything to gain – including a possible world title shot - should he succeed in his quest.

The fact is that so far Parker has not put a foot wrong in his journey to where he is today. His form has been impressive and it has not gone unnoticed by the big names in the industry. And that is largely credited to his determination and the hard work of the people he has surrounded himself with.

But fortunes in the boxing business can change quite quickly and that’s what we don’t want to happen. The constantly changing stories we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks about the top ranks of the heavyweight division is solid proof that nothing is a given. For a large part of this year, the ultimate opponent for Parker has been Anthony Joshua.

On Friday night, a new interesting development unfolded with the promoters talking up a world title fight at Eden Park against undefeated Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Junior.

In fact, Duco’s Dean Lonergan told the Herald the blockbuster fight could happen as early as December. That’s not far away at all.

“The hardest thing probably in the world to win is the heavyweight title,” he said. “In the 120 years or so of its existence we’ve never had a New Zealander - born in New Zealand - who has won it. It’s the holy grail of sport, so to be able to have Joseph fight for it here would be something very unique.”

We can understand the excitement. And you’ve got to take your opportunities when they come.

But Parker’s focus should firmly be on Dimitrenko. The Russian already knows he is fighting someone whose mind might already be on someone else. 

“He’s already looking behind me and concentrating on Anthony Joshua instead of me. There could be a bad joke if he doesn’t concentrate on [our] fight and continues to look forward,” Dimitrenko said.

“It’s best to look at my feet rather than behind my back. I’ve had that experience before and looked into the future and I won’t make that mistake again.

“Joseph is a young fighter and he doesn’t have that experience yet.”

Parker of course brushed off those claims. The realisation that his mandatory position with the IBF would disappear if he lost to Dimitrenko had increased his focus.

“I’ve put everything into this fight - all my thoughts, my feelings, everything,” Parker insisted.

“I’ve just been listening to what mum and dad have been saying and also my team ... we have to get past this fight [first]. I’ve just been focusing on my opponent rather than thinking about the future.”

That’s great to hear. It’s imperative for Parker not to become distracted by too many carrots being dangled in front of him while he is facing a giant.

He hasn’t fought such a fighter as Dimitrenko, who has the potential to derail the road to the title we’ve been following with bated breath since the beginning.

Make no mistake; we are all on the same side when it comes to Lupesoliai Parker. There is not a single Samoan who wouldn’t desire for this wonderfully talented young man to fulfill his true potential and become a world champion.

Ability wise, we know he has it all. He has the physical attributes, mental toughness and as a person, his demeanor outside the ring already makes him a champion. He needs to concentrate and take one step at a time to ensure that happens. 

O ou mama na Lupesoliai!

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