Story / Pic
The CHAMP. Son of the Nation with the Father of the Nation, Lupesoliai and Lupesoliai, Joseph Parker and the
Hon. Prime Minister of Samoa taking ownership of the WBO Heavyweight Belt.
History is made. Samoa has a Boxing Heavyweight Champion of the World and his name is Lupesoliai Laauli-a-le-malietoa Joseph Parker.
He is a champion for his native New Zealand too, but the victory tonight was visibly Samoan with the attendance of Samoa's PM, the Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.
The Son of the Nation and the Father of the Nation shared a very proud moment after the fight.
Tonight at Vector Arena, Parker did enough to beat a determined and dangerous Andy Ruiz Jr.
Parker had to work hard to get the win, particularly after losing the early rounds to Ruiz. Something that irks Ruiz's corner no end.
Abel Sanchez, Ruiz's coach said as much. "If you win the first four rounds like Andy did there is no way you are going to lose the fight from there."
"I thought we won. Parker may have won four rounds at the most. They scored it, we have to take it."
Ruiz himself was scathing of the "hometown decision" that robbed him of a sure victory.
"I won the fight tonight. I was the aggressor, I was going forward and controlling the fight."
"I showed I was the fighter guy out there, but I came into his hometown tonight. I think the judges were on his favour."
Ruiz is hoping for a rematch hopefully in his home turf. He said the Parker camp were shocked with how he fought against their man.
At the Parker corner, trainer Kevin Barry said he knew with two rounds to go that they had control of the fight. He cautioned the Press to value the victory for what it was, a hard fought fight against a dangerous opponent in Ruiz.
The man of the hour Parker said his jab won the night for him by keeping Ruiz at bay all night.
"I felt when I used my jab everything went well."
Barry is a happy man for his own father, the late Kevin Barry Snr, who wanted so much for his son to coach a world champion.
"He would be very happy wouldn't he. He will be looking down tonight and feeling very proud," beamed Kevin Barry Jr.
Looking forward now Parker will take a well earned rest. Duco owner David Higgins gave an outline of possibilities tonight, including a possible defense of Parker's title back here in New Zealand. Dunedin's Forsyth Parr Stadium was mentioned as a possible venue for its outdoor and undercover seating.
That defense will be targeted for March or April in 2017 against Hewie Fury or David Haye. Vladimir Klitschko is also in the ranking but he already has a fight penciled in for April against Anthony Joshua.
"We're going to sit down and write everything on the board and plan from there," said Higgins.
But Ruiz Jr and Sanchez do not believe Parker has the armoury to mix it with the Northern Hemisphere champions like Anthony Joshua and Klitschko.
"This fight is going to go a long way to help both guys become better fighters," is the best Sanchez could say about tonight's fight.
Kevin Barry added that he will sit down to watch the full fight to learn the lessons from tonight's battle with Ruiz Jr.
He may also have a drink for the first time in eight weeks to celebrate Parker becoming the WBO Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Lupesoliai Laauli Joseph Parker exits the cauldron after his historic victory against Ruiz Jr
In my other life, I cover the All Blacks, Boxing, watch the Weather and of course manage Samoa Events