Rumble in Paradise will not be the last major event Samoa will see involving their heavyweight boxing hero Lupesoliai Laauli Joseph Parker.
As the countdown continues towards Saturday’s big fight at Tuana'imato, Duco Events Business Development Manager, Dominic Jennings, told the Samoa Observer that Samoa has been so accommodating they are looking at further events in the future.
“We don’t see this as a one off event,” he said. “A lot of people say to us, you know, Joseph’s coming here once and that’ll be it, that’s not necessarily the case."
“There’s no reason that if Joseph wins a world title and hangs on to it for a couple of years that we couldn’t come back here and fight at Apia Park in front of 20,000 people. That would be a dream I know for Joseph, and for us as well it would be a really cool thing to do.”
Mr. Jennings spoke to the Samoa Observer yesterday as preparations for Saturday night’s fight move up a gear.
“We’ve put a lot of work in,” said Mr. Jennings.
“I’d say the preparations would have started probably six to eight months ago.”
“It’s a big undertaking for us to bring an event this size up here but it’s really, really worth it. We’ve been amazed by the support we’ve got from Samoans, from our sponsors, right through to the general public. It’s been amazing.”
On the ground, the real preparations started last Saturday. While Duco has been taking the lead on the organisation and planning, most of the work is being done by Samoans in Samoa.
“They’re all locals, some of them have been provided by the venue, some have been provided by our sponsors, and then we’ve had a crew on the ground as well."
“We had a couple of objectives in coming to Samoa. One was to bring Joseph back to his parents homeland and we also wanted to invest back into the local community."
“Where we can, we’ve tried to buy locally, we’ve had a couple of instances where we’d had options between two competing sponsors and the deciding factor for us was the sponsor who would keep the money and investment in the local market.”
Duco Events is extremely grateful for the support they’ve had from the government in terms of monetary donations and assisting with the preparations and they are committed to repaying the traditional Samoan generosity.
Mr. Jennings said there were always opportunities to bring events to Samoa and are currently in discussions with the Samoa Tourism Authority, Samoa International Finance Authority (S.I.F.A) and the Prime Minister on how they can hit the ground running with some other sporting events.
So how much is it costing to put up Rumble in Paradise?
“It’s eye wateringly expensive,” the Director of Talent Relations at Duco, Craig Stanaway, said.
For Mr. Jennings, money is not the most important factor for this bout in Samoa.
“I can tell you it’s over a million dollars to put all this together,” he said. “Which is a pretty significant expense for us, but at the end of the day when we sit here on Saturday night and we see two thousand passionate Samoans cheering on their hometown hero, it’ll all be worth it.”
Looking to Saturday, the team is excited about the atmosphere of their first fight night in Samoa.
“The atmosphere when a room this size is filled with up to two thousand people is going to be absolutely electric and Joe made mention of the fact that with all the seats so close, he’s going to be able to see each and every face in the crowd and that’s going to be a real spur for him, watching them cheer him on,” said Jennings.
They’re also looking to support local upcoming young boxers, investing heavily in the Samoan dominated undercard fights.
The company is thrilled with the exposure such an event will give these young boxers, being broadcast live through Australia, New Zealand and Samoa, as well as a potential broadcast through Europe as well.
The team at Duco are 100% prepared for the fight night on Saturday and are looking forward to a great end to the week.
“It’s going to be one of the best events to hit Samoan soil. Joseph can’t wait, we can’t wait and it’s going to be an absolute cracker and like Joe said we’re going to be putting an exclamation point on the week,” said Mr. Jennings.
Tickets are still available from all Digicel stores for $50 and $100 and will be broadcast live on TV3 and with a one hour delay on TV1 for those who don’t have access to TV3.