“When you talk about the world champs of Rugby, they talk about the All Blacks.
“When you talk about the number one in the Olympics, you talk about the fastest man in the 100m sprint. But when you talk about the crown jewel of world sport, you talk about the heavy weight champion of world boxing.”
Legendary All Black Tuigamala Va’aiga Tuigamala believes Lupesoliai La'auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker is ready to become that crown jewel.
Tuigamala weighed in on the prospect of Lupesoliai , bringing glory to Samoa on Saturday night.
Tuigamala offered an interesting perspective on the Parker fight, as he has witnessed his meteoric rise.
“Joseph is very close to us,” he said. “He was brought up with my sons, Jordan and Bubba, they fought together as amateurs.
"To see where Joseph is now is absolutely incredible. To see him go within four years to becoming a world title contender and fighting for the world title, it doesn’t surprise me because as a young kid, he was always very dedicated and committed.
"He is a wonderful role model not only for our Samoans but any mother would be proud to have a son like Joseph. He symbolizes the new trend of young professionals, certainly here in the Pacific Island. I’m really excited for him.”
Tuigamala also responded to Parker’s trainer, Kevin Barry’s comments about Andy Ruiz Jr. having faster hands and more experience.
“I think it’s a mind game. Kevin Barry is a master at playing with your mind. I think it’s one-way to keep his boy, Joseph ticking and alert at all times. The work is done now, there’s not much they can do. As the only saying goes, “cometh hour, cometh the man.”
“ So, Kevin Barry has the ability to draw the best out of his fighters over the years. I think it’s a good psychological challenge for Lupesoliai. Make no mistake, Kevin will be backing his boy,” he told the Samoa Observer.
“I know, come December the 10th all Samoans will be glued to their T.V.
"I know what chance he has , I think he's got a good chance. But the guy he up against, he knows he can’t take him for granted. He’s shown an incredible ability to put everything on.
“The question a lot of people are asking is, “Is it too early?” ,“Is he too young?”
"Well I have a saying that I was brought up with, if you’re good enough, you’re good enough. What excites me about this young Joseph of ours is that he just goes from strength to strength. He never claimed to be anyone over the top. He performs with dignity and just a fantastic young fighter. What I love about him, it that he shows real self belief in his own ability.
"I think Kevin Barry has a done a wonderful job in preparing him. That’s evident in his growth in such a short period of time. I’m biased and I’m sure all Samoans are biased because they’ve claimed him as their own and I’m just so proud of what he’s achieved in such a short time."
“For example, he’s made it known that he’s proud of his Samoan side but not only that, he’s brought his talent here to the islands. In January early this year, we hosted him here and all of Samoa stood still. To be able to do that while he’s climbing the ladder of success. Most people will only think of that towards the end of their career but he’s done it right at his prime. I think it’s something all Samoans will be proud of it.”
Tuigamala also paid homage to the ones who’ve blazed the trail for Parker .
“We’ve got to pay huge respect to those who’ve walked this road before. You’re talking about the people like Toailetai David Tua, Samoa’s favorite son and he’s paved that way for Joseph.
"He’s followed by Maselino Masoe, our only world champion in the Super Middleweight Category. Then we’ve had the likes of Jimmy Peau, Commonwealth Gold medalist, Alex Leapai who fought for the world title two years ago and now we’ve got Joseph.
“It’s third time lucky for Samoa. And when you look at it per ratio, Samoa produces the best boxers. I think what Joseph has done, coming over here and fighting, this whole resurgence of boxing coming back up again and that’s attributed to Joseph coming over here and aspiring a whole new generation.”