Leteleausasala Sala Parker is a strong woman.
And you have to if you are able to raise a humble young champion in the form her son Lupesoliai Laauli Joseph Parker.
But as strong as she is, she tells the Samoa Observer that unfair criticism of her son over the government’s decision to help him financially hurts deeply – especially having it coming from his own Samoa people.
“As a parent, the comments are hurtful,” she said. “We are thankful for teachings of the Bible which taught us the importance of having patience and faith in God. He knows everything.”
Sala and her son are close.
Their relationship is evident everywhere they go. The woman who has been by his side since the start remains guarded and protective of her boy.
This week, she is in Apia with Lupesoliai.
“My son is not a rugby player, he’s not a weight lifter but he’s a boxer,” she said.
“He is a boxer who represents Samoa.
“As a mother I fully support any athlete or any son of Samoa who represents and carry our flag around the world. I am in full support of them.”
For her Joseph, she said that although he was not born in Samoa, he is immensely proud of his roots at Faleula and Tapatapao.
“He’s Samoan,” she said.
“Joseph is a son of Samoa. To me, our children’s success depends on our support.”
As for the financial assistance from the government, Sala said her son was not the one who asked for the money.
“It wasn’t Joseph who came and asked for the money, it was his promoters,” she said.
“He can live off of bread and tap water but the assistance requested was to facilitate the fight and to allow for all of Samoa to watch the fight live.”
Having said that, Sala said she is extremely grateful for Samoa’s support.
She thanked the Samoans in Samoa and all over the world for their well wishes and prayers.
As a proud Samoan woman, she also sought the nation’s forgiveness if Lupesoliai had faltered or fallen short of people’s expectations.
“If his actions in the arena were not up to par with the standards you have set, please forgive my son,” she said.
“We should also give Lupesoliai our full support after all he’s representing Samoa, not just my family.”