The biggest boxing showdown to be staged in Samoa is just over a week away now.
This Saturday, 23-year-old heavyweight boxer, Lupesoliai La’auli Joseph Parker, and his team will touch down in Apia for the much-talked about bout against American southpaw, Jason Bergman, next Saturday.
Dubbed “Rumble in Paradise”, the event to be staged at Tuana’imato is organised and promoted by Duco Events.
Duco Events Director, David Higgins, told the Samoa Observer yesterday that they are extremely excited about coming to Samoa. He is confident that Rumble in Paradise will build on the success of the All Blacks visit last year, further reinforcing Samoa’s capability to host major events requiring satellite TV distribution.
“The fight is fully sanctioned by the World Boxing Organisation and hundreds of millions of boxing fans will be waiting for the result”, Mr. Higgins said.
“Samoa is a nation which statistically punches well above its weight in the sport of boxing."
“Despite a relatively very small population, Samoa has produced greats such as David Tua and Masalino Masoe. It is therefore long overdue that Samoa should host its first major internationally televised professional boxing event.”
But hosting such events in Samoa are not easy.
“Of course the event brings with it logistical and investment challenges,” he said. “But it will make history and the positives in terms of international profile, tourism visitation, demonstrating Samoa's capability and giving back to the people of Samoa outweighs any perceived negatives.”
As such, Mr. Higgins said the Duco team is looking forward to planning more events like this in the future.
“Duco has enjoyed the past year of planning this event and I have personally enjoyed my many visits to Samoa. There are a range of sporting fixtures across various codes which could conceptually be staged in Samoa so I'm sure we will be back.”
Leading up to Saturday, the event will give back to the community by running an open training session with Parker at the fight venue. There will be a session for talented Samoan trainers and children at the Tuigamala gym to which Duco will donate boxing gloves and gear to help young Samoans coming through.
Rumble in Paradise will also promote the anti domestic violence message.
“I think this event will hopefully inspire people to ‘keep it in the ring,” Mr. Higgins said.
“I believe conducting professional boxing contests with strict rules and best practice safety precautions, inspires people to control their aggression, compete against opponents of similar weight and ability and channel their energy competitively.
“You can't perform at your best in boxing unless you can control your emotions. Hence boxing has helped numerous young men in particular learn to control their tempers and in many cases avoid going down the wrong paths such as choosing lives of crime.”
The event has gained widespread interest in Samoa.
The organisers say the Corporate tables have already sold out. The cheapest ticket is general admission of $50.
The fight sees Lupesoliai up against 31 year old American Jason Bergman, and a win here for Parker could give him a greater chance at securing a world heavyweight title shot.
The event will be broadcast live across Samoa by TV3 on the 23rd of January in the wake of two heavyweight title fights in New York this weekend; both of which can be watched live on TV3 this Sunday night.
The outcome of these two fights is significant to Lupesoliai’s bid for a heavyweight title as they will determine potential opponents for the title fight.
TV3 has spent their time leading up to the fight double checking their connections across Upolu and Savai’i to ensure that everyone will have a quality connection in order to watch the event.
The fight will also be broadcast uninterrupted in New Zealand as a key target market for tourism to Samoa and with Lupesoliai ranked World Boxing Organisation (WBO) world number three the fight will also receive extensive worldwide social media coverage via Facebook, Youtube and Twitter as well as international media coverage.
General admission tickets are still available at Digicel stores.