Samoa’s heavyweight boxer, Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker, is not done from boxing. And speaking from London, he wants the people of Samoa and all of his supporters to keep the faith.
“I’m not done yet,” the 26-year-old told members of the New Zealand media in London after his points decision loss to Dillain Whyte on Sunday morning (Samoan time).
“I’m finishing around 30 or 31 so I’m going to go hard for the next few years. I have a great team and great support from New Zealand and Samoa.
“A lot of people flew over for this fight. It’s great to have the support and love. I have a goal. I want to be a two-time world champion. It’s how you come back.”
Despite being floored for the first time in his career, Lupesoliai said he wants to fight soon.
“I’m in good shape now and I want to maintain it. I want to maintain it better than the other times I’ve been home.”
The man from Tapatapao and Faleula had a strong support base in London.
His parents Dempsey and Sala were there with his brother John. There were other family members as well as supporters from Samoa who travelled there for the fight.
“I’m representing both countries so hopefully they don’t doubt us and what we’re trying to achieve. We’re trying to put them on the map and hopefully help other young boxers and athletes in New Zealand and Samoa.”
So what happened on Sunday morning?
“I didn’t feel balanced but I don’t want to make excuses,” he said about the head butt early in the fight. “Things happen, it’s part of the game. I sucked it up and carried on. I recovered well after a few rounds.
“I was supposed to be rougher, but when you’re head’s pushed down and he’s manoeuvring me and pushing on my neck, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.
“It’s all learning but I think we put on a better performance than our last fight even though we lost. I threw more punches. It was a more exciting fight.”
He also knows he had Whyte beaten when he dropped him in the final round and was seconds away from knocking him out.
“But he’s a smart fighter. He smothered me and put me on the ropes so I couldn’t let my hands go. If I had had a few more rounds it could have been different … but the better man won on the day.”
And now with all his millions from his previous fights, asked if he is still hungry to fight on, Lupesoliai said yes.
“I’m already set for life,” he said. “I have a home and can look after my family. The money comes but I’m boxing for the passion and the love that I still have for it.”
First things first though. Lupesoliai is looking forward to heading home to see his second daughter, Shiloh, who was born nearly three weeks ago and whom he hasn’t yet met.
“Meeting my daughter for the first time and meeting my other daughter Elizabeth; she’s nearly two now and I’ve missed out on a lot of growing,” he said.
“We’ve got a playground and a playhouse and we’re going to have a lot of fun with her.”