World champion gets rid of distractions, looks forward
Samoa’s world heavyweight champion, Lupesoliai La’auli Joseph Parker, is confident that his future is in good hands.
Having chosen to continue to work with Segiali’i David Higgins, one half of Duco Events, Lupesoliai said his focus now is firmly fixed on becoming the best heavyweight champion of the world.
Segiali’i and Dean Lonergan of Duco Events had been Lupesoliai’s promoters from the start of his professional career. But the announcement of their split recently has forced Parker to choose sides.
“The Duco Promoters have been separated and its all business,” Lupesoliai told the Samoa Observer.
“I’ve chosen to stick with Segiali’i David Higgins who’s looking after out team.”
Parker admitted that the events outside of the ring had a massive impact on him when he struggled against Razvan Cojanu in his first W.B.O title defense.
“Leading up to the fight, you're trying to clear your mind but there are things happening in the back. You can’t sort of leave it behind.
“The split was happening before the fight and we’re negotiating and then a different opponent comes in. There were a lot of things happening in the background and I try no to let it affect me but it probably did a little bit.
“And that’s the reasons my performance wasn't my best.”
But that’s the past. In Apia to see family and say thank you to Samoa for their support, Lupesoliai is confident in his new team.
“Now that I have a better structure moving forward, I’m not going to be involved in making negotiations anymore.”
Against Cojanu, Lupesoliai said he was “55 to 60 per cent” and “there was a lot more I could have done but there was distraction in the background.
“But the main thing is we got the win and we got to move forward, train better and work harder.”
Lupesoliai also did not want to be drawn into Kevin Barry’s involvement with former heavyweight title contender, David Tua.
“That’s in the past.
“The reason I joined the team was I wanted to improve my boxing and be guided the right way and Duco Events has shown that in three or four years, they guided me to be Champion of the World.
“So they’re doing a good job and Kevin [Barry] is training me the best he can.
“I believe we have a great team and it just comes down to each fighter. We just to work harder as a team.”
The goal now for Lupesoliai is to unify the heavyweight belts.
“I am confident, now we have the title. We can unify the titles in the future; it just takes hard work and lot of pain.”
That path could see him against tougher opponents in the like of Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua or Wladimir Klitschko.
“I’ll fight any of them. I don’t mind fighting whoever, as long as it makes sense, then we’ll fight whoever is there.
“If it’s Wilder to unify the belt, if it’s Joshua, it doesn’t worry us. I want to get into the ring and fight anyone. I think that’s the Samoan in me.”
In the meantime, Lupesoliai has a few months to prepare for his next fight in September.
“We’re looking at fighting in September in the UK.
“Our opponent is Hughie Fury, he’s still the mandatory which means we still have to fight him.
“This time he won't pull out, like last time, for his sore back, so hopefully that’s the truth. We’re looking forward to going there and making a statement and putting on a good performance.”
Lupesoliai is also not ruling out the chance of bringing back a title defense to Samoa.
“There’s a big chance of bringing a fight to Samoa.
“We have to fight in UK and then we have options open and Segiali’i said we have a big chance to come back to Samoa and put it on a World Championship fight.
“I think it’s good for our country and I would love to come back and fight here.
“The support has been amazing and great and I want to put on a great show here like we did before. We just have to find the right day, the right time to make it happen.”