There is no doubt about it.
Samoa’s favourite son, Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker is raring and ready to go. On Saturday next week, he will be going head-to-head in a bone crushing fight against Mexican-American boxer, Andrés Ponce “Andy” Ruiz Jr for the world heavyweight title.
And contrary to reports that Ruiz Jnr is the overwhelming favourite, Lupesoliai begs to differ.
“This is my time,” he said.
“I’m excited, I’m looking forward to it, and I can’t wait for December 10th.”
Lupesoliai coach, Kevin Barry, believes Ruiz deserves the favorite’s tag for their W.B.O. heavyweight title fight because he has faster hand movements.
Asked about Kevin’s theory, Lupesoliai told the press he respected Kevin’s opinion and he agrees with him on the fact that Ruiz does have fast hands.
However, Lupesoliai used Kevin’s opinion as a motivational tool.
“I’ll prove Kevin wrong come fight night and I’ll be the faster fighter. I think Kevin did say that Andy’s the favorite but he didn’t say that I was going to lose, or he didn’t say he was going to beat me.
“I know Andy’s preparing well for this fight and I know he is taking this very seriously, but this fight is going to be held here at home, and I’m ready for it.”
Lupesoliai said he has learnt a lot from the Carlos Takam bout. He said he only watched the fight twice because he was disappointed with his own performance.
Today, he is more ready than ever.
On the subject of tall vs. short fighters, Lupesoliai expressed the fact that every fight is hard, doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, it all comes down to the preparations one takes before a big fight.
He referred to David Tua’s world title fight against Lennox Lewis and he will use the lessons from there.
“I think a good example of this fight is looking back at Lennox and David Tua, you know taller and shorter fighters, so if I want to do my best to go in there and fight like Lennox did to Tua.”
Asked about Lennox Lewis’s suggestions on how he should fight against Ruiz, like he did Tua, Lupesoliai said that he was already preparing for the fight in that manner.
“That’s pretty much how we’ve been preparing; the jab is going to be key, it’s going to be important and I’m just going to try my best to box him from the outside.”
But Lupesoliai is equally confident about mixing it up with the Mexican.
“It’s been different bringing in taller sparing partners, and we brought in three sparing partners who we believe gave us really good work,” he said
“These fighters put in pressure through a lot of punches, and chasing me down so I was able to control my distance and control them. So I know whatever Andy’s going to bring, I’ve already prepared for it and I’ll be ready for whatever he’s going to bring so I’m looking forward to it.”
But after so many fights one after the other this year, how much gas does the son of Samoa have left?
“I still have a lot in the tank. It’s been a tough three years, and this will be the 15th fight in three years, and you know the body has taken a beating in trainings and in the fights.”
Asked about his role model, David Tua, and the support he’s shown, Lupesoliai said he believes Tua is one of the greatest boxers in New Zealand history, and has gained enough respect for Lupesoliai to call him a legend.
“For me, David is one of the fighters I looked up to and still look up to, he’s pretty much the best fighter New Zealand has produced. He knocked out how many champions; three or four champions and he could’ve been champion himself, but probably didn’t get the right opportunities.”
“For me, David Tua is a legend in this country and to have him back is very exciting for me.”
Lupesoliai added that he’s been assured of the support from the mighty All Blacks as well and other top sporting names.
He is equally grateful for all the support provided by the local people of New Zealand, and that he enjoys walking down the street with people recognizing him, or ask about his wellbeing, or just simply take a picture together with him.
With Lupesoliai now a father to a beautiful baby girl, he said that she will only give him even greater motivation to do his very best in the ring.
“I think it’s just extra motivation, and I guess it’s pretty cool to be a father.”
“When I got back I went to visit my baby girl, and shes health and strong so that makes me happy.”
“When I go into this fight ill have extra motivation, fighting for her, fighting for my family, fighting for our country, fighting for Samoa, these are all the reasons why I should be motivated to go out there and give it my best.”