Samoan boxing influencer and former rugby star Fesola’i Va’aiga Tuigamala is predicting a great fight for Lupesoliai Joseph Parker this weekend.
The former World Boxing Organisation heavyweight champion Lupesoliai takes on Mexican-American Alexander Flores in Christchurch on Saturday night.
Samoa Boxing Federation vice-president Fesola’i said Flores is a bit of an unknown quantity but he has a good record.
He said the fight will be crucial to Lupesoliai rebuilding some confidence.
“He took a couple blows there, but losing doesn’t define you.”
Lupesoliai lost his title to Anthony Joshua in March before another loss to Dillian Whyte in July.
“It’s how you respond and how you come back from that,” said Fesola’i.
“His greatest asset at the moment is he’s still young.
“Some of the heavyweights at the moment are in their 30s, whereas Joseph (at 26 years old) will be around a long time.”
Of the consensus top-10 heavyweight boxers in the world, only Adam Kownacki and number-one-ranked Anthony Joshua are under 30.
“Heavyweights mature towards the end of their 20s and into their 30s, so Joseph’s got everything to fight for,” Fesola’i said.
“He’ll learn more from the losses than he would from the wins.”
Fesola’i wondered whether experience was the key to winning even when you don’t necessarily deserve to.
“There are times where you’ll get into a fight where things aren’t going your way.”
He said learning how to dog it out and steal a win if you have to takes time.
“It’s the same with the All Blacks, they’ve won games where in their hearts they’ll know they aren’t satisfied.”
Fesola’i said Lupesoliai has done wonders, putting Samoa and New Zealand on the map.
“Joseph had a great run to the title, and held it, not for the longest time but we can be proud of his achievements.
“We need good role models for our youngsters to look up to.”
He said what’s important now is for Lupesoliai to get back to winning ways.
“The saying it’s not the dog in the fight it’s the fight in the dog; I truly believe Joseph will go well.”