Govt. is likely to back Duco again

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has expressed his government’s willingness to seriously consider another financial injection for Duco Events to stage Lupesoliai Joseph Parker’s next fight.

In fact, the Owner and Founder of Duco Events, Segiali’i David Higgins is heading to Apia next week to meet with the Prime Minister to negotiate possible financial assistance from the government.

The development was confirmed by Prime Minister Tuilaepa during an interview with the Weekend Observer.

 “Segiali’i will be coming to Samoa,” said Tuilaepa. 

“I will meet with him and we will then discuss and talk about what’s needed to be done. 

“We will discuss and go into details about how their preparations have been so far, ahead of the fight.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa said he understands how important it is for Samoa to support Lupesoliai.

“The most important thing to me is (for Lupesoliai) to maintain and defend the title. It is a must that we support him so he can defend the title and hold on to it.”

Last year, the government donated US$100,000 (T$230,000) for Parker to host his world heavyweight fight in Auckland against Andy Ruiz Jnr for the WBO title.

In return, Samoa received significant promotional tourism exposure during the live international broadcast to millions of viewers across the globe. Prime Minister Tuilaepa was also given the honour of introducing the fight.

"We are proud to be able to support our son Lupesoliai La'auli Joseph Parker in his quest to become the first Samoan world heavyweight champion," Tuilaepa said at the time.

"[We] believe he possesses the qualities required to succeed - strength of body, mind and soul.

"In addition to this, [the] event will be a great opportunity for Samoa to promote our beautiful country to what will be a massive international audience, demonstrating that Samoa is a great place to visit and do business.”

Earlier this week, TVNZ reported that the Zealand government had turned down Lupesoliai's promoters for sponsorship.

The decision follows trainer Peter Fury being denied entry into New Zealand for the WBO world heavyweight title fight in May.

Tourism New Zealand has said "no" to backing the Auckland bout on May 6, after also turning down a funding request from DUCO Events for Parker's title bid last December.

Segiali’i said he was extremely disappointed about the decision by the New Zealand government. 

"We're never going to give up and so we put in an application again that we thought met the criteria," said Higgins.

He says he believed their funding application met all the criteria.

"We received a letter just to say no there won't be any support. Of course we are disappointed but that's life, they make their judgments so be it."

Segiali’i confirmed they would approach the Samoan government for backing again. 

He added that he would be extremely happy to continue the strong relationship between his company and the Samoan government that had been forged over the past 24 months.

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