Lupesoliai Laauli Joseph Parker has no shortage of fans here in Samoa.
But his two biggest fans have always and will always be his parents Dempsey and Sala Parker.
“Joseph is such a wonderful person, such a wonderful son,” Sala said.
From as early as eight years of age, Lupesoliai has had a keen interest in boxing. And his parents have supported him the whole way, referring to his boxing commitments as a “team effort”.
“My husband and I would take it in turns, taking him to training and his appointments, it was real teamwork.”
And it is clear to see how important Lupesoliai’s parents are to him, and how significant they were in moulding him into the elite athlete he is today.
For parents of aspiring athletes across Samoa, Lupesoliai has this to say; “Please support your kids in all that they’re trying to do. Without your support your kids wouldn’t be able to make it too far.”
Sala said the trip to Samoa is very special to them.
“I won’t say I’m proud, because I’m not a proud person but if I’m proud I’m proud inside,” she said. “I’m very, very happy and pleased, especially with his team, because they accepted the fact that Joseph and his family so very much wanted him to come and fight here in Samoa, not for economical help for Samoa but for his roots as well."
“Joseph’s got lots of friends and fans, but his family is most important to him.”
Sala told the Samoa Observer that values played a huge part in Lupesoliai’s childhood, with respect, love and the Church all contributing to making him the person he is today.
She also appreciates the support that Lupesoliai has received throughout his career.
“I’ve heard this hotel is 85% people who have come to support Joseph for the fight, some from Australia and even I’ve heard some from American Samoa, from Savai’i especially. So it’s a whole range of families and friends from different countries all over the world.”
“I cannot say thank-you enough to the people of Samoa, because of the full support,” Mrs Parker said.
“What I hear is every time Joseph fights, they all gather in one place, they put on a barbeque and everybody’s happy and waiting for Joseph to fight so I’d like to say thank-you so very much. I’d like to thank each and every one, even the kids because I’ve heard a lot of the kids always make an effort to stay up late and watch Joseph’s fights.”
Lupesoliai also has a message for aspiring sports people here in Samoa.
“My message to the kids or up and coming sports people would be give it 100%. If you aim to achieve or if you aim to do a sport and you want to achieve something give it 100%. Train hard, because if you don’t train hard you won’t get the results. And set goals. If you set goals and aim to achieve them you can definitely achieve them like I have.”