As the countdown to Saturday’s World title fight continues with Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker pounding the pads and boxing bags, his family in Samoa are getting right behind him.
But instead of worrying and being anxious, they are praying for success.
“God bless Joseph,” said his loving Aunty, Muntzie Taálili.
“I just want you to know that we support you all the way, I look forward to when you visit us next.”
Although he grew up in New Zealand, Parker hails from Tapatapao and Faleula. He also has roots in Aufaga where he holds the Lupesoliai title.
Muntzie said her nephew is a very humble young man and he deserves all the success that would come his way.
“I pray that the Lord will continue to cover him with his protection and God bless him with the strength to keep going,” she said.
Muntzie failed to hold back tears of joy for her dear nephew when she spoke about him.
“Joseph is a humble man and he has a good spirit. I get worried at times when I see him in the ring with his opponent. I get worried in case something might happen to him in the ring,” she said.
“But after watching all of his fights, I have realized that he is good at what he does and I should just show him support. He’s a good fighter and we have confidence in him.”
Lupesoliai has a very big heart and cares deeply about Samoa, she said.
“It would be a real blessing for him to come back home, I am the eldest of my family. He is a son of this country and we should show him that support.”
There’s no hiding the fact that boxing is a tough sport to play because of all the trainings and preparation one needs to undergo before a fight.
“I pray for him to have the strength and joy with the sport he has a passion for.” She said
“What he does is not easy especially when it comes to all the hard trainings he has to do. But his work brings joy in the heart of his family and everyone in this country.”
“We are just so happy with all that he has done for our family. The only thing for us is to keep relying on the Lord to help him.”
It’s only natural for people to feel worried for their loved ones when they play a sport, especially if that sport causes injuries.
For Mrs Ta’alili, she worries every time lupesoliai steps into the ring to face his opponents.
She said that his opponents always seem intimidating with big bodies and that she will always turn towards her faith to help keep him safe in the ring.
“Joseph doesn’t have a big body but I know that when we pray for his safety, the Lord will help him inside the ring.” She said.
“Another worry I have is that his opponents are older than him which means they are more experienced. I feel sorry for Joseph at times but I know strength comes from the Lord so prayer is the key.”
Nevertheless, her faith in the Lord and Lupesoliai’s skill in the ring remains strong.
She then continued on to say that she wishes Lupesoliai La’auili all the very best with his upcoming world heavyweight title fight against Andrés Ponce "Andy" Ruiz Jr in New Zealand.