Big risks come with big rewards

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 21 May 2016, 12:00AM

Lupesoliai Joseph Parker is good. From what we’ve seen so far, he is awesome.

But just how good he is we will find out tonight when he fronts up against what will arguably be the toughest opponent of his impressive career to date.

It would be wrong to say that the fight against Carlos Takam at the Manuakau Events Centre will be a make or break battle because as big a name as he has become, Parker still has plenty of time on his hands.  

But with the opportunity to push for world heavyweight title fight in the offering, the only result he would want – including all of us – is a win. 

Indeed, while most of us would agree that pitting Parker against such a quality opponent in the form of Takam might be a very big risk, we know that with big risks come big rewards. And should Parker be on his game tonight, he will then only be a fight away from achieving something no other sportsman in this part of the world has ever done before – become the World Heavyweight champion.

Which is why tonight’s fight is so important. You see, with the eyes of the boxing world fixed on how Parker would front up, they will be looking for not just some win. They will be keen to see an impressive showing from Lupesoliai, something that will send out an emphatic statement to the world that he is ready for the big time.

Interestingly, throughout the week, a huge part of the pre-fight hype has been about how Parker could handle Anthony Joshua, should the opportunity come around.

As far as we are concerned, that should be a secondary thought for Lupesoliai. First and foremost on his mind should be the man he is up against tonight. And from everything we have seen – including the tons of materials in the edition you are reading about Takam – he is no slouch.

Suffice to say, this will be Parker’s toughest test. 

It is a big step up in terms of his career progression and Parker will need to show that he can handle the big time. Takam has been in the ring with some of the best boxers in the world. He is big, physical, aggressive, fit and carries twice the amount of experience as his opponent. Tonight, Parker will be tested like he’s never been tested before.

The question of weather Parker has the chin to withstand punishment will be answered this evening. Although he’s never really been hit in his career, at some point, someone is going to land a big punch and that could well be Takam. This guy means business. And he is ready.

But so is Parker. 

From what we’ve seen, he knows he needs to step up to the challenge and he knows this is the moment he has been waiting for. 

Some people take years and years to reach the level that Parker has in a few years. But that’s okay; it doesn’t mean that Parker is not ready.

Listen to him: “I have a lot of respect for Carlos and what he has done in his career. He has been in the ring with some big names.

“I’m just excited to be challenging someone like Carlos, who is going to be a good name on my record, if I do beat him. A win gives me the chance to fight for a title. I have goals. I want to be the world champion and I’m not going to let anyone stand in my way.”

To prepare for tonight, Parker has undergone a lengthy camp with trainer Kevin Barry and is ready to display the punching power that has brought him 16 stoppages.

“This is a very exciting time for myself and the team. I’m really looking forward to May 21, and being in the ring, and showing everyone what we have been training hard for,” he said.

“This is a big opportunity, I’m fighting for the IBF mandatory, I’m taking it with both hands. I’ve done the work. Kevin’s done the work, the whole team has done the work, so what can I say? I’m excited. Come Saturday night, we’re ready to do what we have to do, and that’s to get the victory.”

Well said, Lupesoliai! We can hardly wait.

We wish you all the best for tonight. We also wish the Manu Samoa Sevens all the best for the London Sevens. It’s an exciting sporting weekend for Samoa.

O outou mama na, God bless! 

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 21 May 2016, 12:00AM

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