He can handle the pressure say Parker’s proud parents
Sala and Dempsey, the parents of heavyweight boxing champ Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker claim their son will deal with the pressure as he gets set to take on Brit Anthony Joshua in front of 80,000 fans at Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.
The pair will face-off in the year’s most eagerly anticipated boxing bout with Parker’s WBO belt and Joshua’s IBF, WBA and IBO titles all on the line.
But mother Sala and father Dempsey insist their son, whose biggest crowd for a fight to date is around 10,000, can handle the moment when he steps into the ring at a sell-out closed-roofed stadium.
“It doesn’t matter how many people watch the fight, Joseph feels that too,” Sala exclusively told the Samoan Observer.
“He’s very confident and he’s a good public speaker, he’s never tried to be someone he’s not. He always speaks from the heart.
“He stays focused and the crowd won’t bother him or interfere with his focus. The crowd has nothing to do with his preparations. Joseph will be confident and he will walk into the arena, look out to the people and be ready to get in the ring.”
Parker has 24 fights to his name, winning every contest with 18 of those victories coming by knockout. His opponent, 6ft 6” Brit, Anthony Joshua too holds an undefeated record, though, his 20 wins have all been by knockout.
Boxing fanatic Dempsey explained what goes through a parents’ mind when they see their son stepping into a boxing ring.
“I just wait for his opponent to go down,” he explained. “That’s all on my mind. We all hold hands together and pray. Anthony Joshua is a strong opponent, but we wait round by round. It’s always a positive emotion, he’s done the hard work in his preparation and trained so well. All your faith goes into the Lord and that keeps you positive.”
Parker entered the weigh-in at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena to a combined Siva Tua and Haka dance, much to the surprise of the 4,000-strong crowd.
“It was like a warrior preparing for war,” said Dempsey.
Sala added: “It was fantastic, I thought it was so excellent. It made Joseph feel very special and gives him the message that two countries are behind him. It’s added an extra level of motivation to do well and he knows people care about him.”
In 1991, Western Samoa caused one of the greatest sporting shocks when they beat Wales 16-13 at the National Stadium in Cardiff at the Rugby World Cup.
And 27 years on, they are hoping to bring another surprise to the Welsh capital.
“He’s going into the ring expecting to surprise,” Sala smiled. “I read in the newspaper that Joshua is just going to walk in and expect just a slap on the face from Joseph. I think that’s a really good thing that people underestimate Joseph and his power. He will go into the ring as the underdog which brings less pressure and stress on him. He will go in and do his thing. It would be nice to repeat 1991!”
At around midnight tonight, whatever happens in Cardiff, Sala and Dempsey will be immensely proud of their 26-year-old son.
“We stay positive and we stay mentally tough,” said Dempsey. “We are very religious and we are very proud in our heart. When you see him in the ring you are crying in your heart.”