A proud moment for Labour MP Su'a William Sio, Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture Loau Keneti Sio and
Samoa's Hon. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai S. Malielegaoi with Laauli Joseph Parker and the WBO Heavyweight Belt.
That should be the headline hitting the Boxing world in a month or so. It will be as revolutionary as the Rumble in the Jungle in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974 between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, or the Thrilla in Manilla in 1975 between Joe Frazier and Ali again.
And without a shadow of a doubt, that is exactly what Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi will have been mulling over ever since his namesake Lupesoliai Laauli Joseph Parker was crowned WBO Heavyweight Champion of the World at Vector arena only a few hours ago.
Hosting a Parker Championship fight in Samoa is a not a whish list for the Government. It is as important to Samoa as hosting SIDS or the South Pacific Games. Except this is bigger, and has more potential to maximise Samoa's investment in Parker as a fighter. Also, the impact of a Heavyweight fight in Apia for Samoa's tourism will be huge.
There is no doubt such an undertaking is outrageous and way out there, but then we are world renown for doing exactly that when Samoa changed the Dateline, and also the side of the road we drive on. Not to mention changing the name of the country to Samoa by removing the colonial laden word "Western" from our geography.
Two of those revolutionary ideas were Tuilaepa inventions, and each was implemented with precision.
We have also hosted a world champion in the All Blacks a year ago. So we know the logistics of running a show like that.
Hosting the All Blacks taught us a lot. We also learned a lot. The country lost $1m in that exercise, but it was worth it. This is much bigger than the All Blacks for Samoa to host a Parker Title fight.
Samoa has never had a World Champion in our midst. We may never have this opportunity again. Parker's next fight is the best opportunity and chance for Samoa to host a World title fight. That is the only guaranteed fight Parker has, for now.
Hopefully, Parker will keep the belt for much longer than his next defense.
It is looking likely the defense of the WBO belft will be within the vicinity of New Zealand. Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium was mentioned briefly by Duco boss David Higginsn as a Defense venue at the post fight Presser last night.
Apia Park is a much better venue than Forsyth Barr Stadium in late March or early April.
Parker's next opponent has also been hinted at like WBO #4 Hughie Fury. There is also David Haye WBO #3 and Vladimir Klitschko who is ranked #2. With Klitschko, he already has a date with Anthony Joshua on April 29th and that rules him out.
That leaves Fury and Haye, or even sixth ranked Jarrell Mille as likely opponents for Parker. Whatever advantage Auckland was for Parker in his fight against Ruiz Jr, Apia will offer even bigger odds for Parker in the heat of Samoa.
That advantage is needed at every defense of Parker's heavyweight WBO title.
Samoa hosting Parker's next fight is a natural progression from the government's $100,000 USD investment in the Auckland fight.
Sponsorship for Parker's next fight should be something of a better sell for Duco. Now that they have a Heavyweight World champion, Parker and Duco can dictate where the fight is held and the sponsors should follow.
Corporate Sales for a fight in Apia should be no different to filling Forsyth Barr stadium with Aucklanders, who instead of flying two and half hours south to Dunedin, can hop on a 3.45hr flight to the new Faleolo International Airport.
There is another attraction, the large Pacific community in Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand will want a piece of history by catching a Heavyweight Title fight in Apia. That is a large and mobile community too.
There are a lot of possibilities, and good prospects at that too.
A fight of this nature will do more good for Samoa's Tourism than an United Nations funded SIDS conference. The people traveling to Apia to see the fight will be paying customers with a lot more disposable income to spend in their week in the sun.
Parker's value for Samoa is significant. His win at Vector Arena was visibly Samoan in every respect from beginning to end. He is more Samoan than New Zealander, where he was born. Knowing the man, Parker is keen to invest in the future of Samoa as a country, and Samoans as a people.
An influx of visitors to see a Parker fight will compliment the great work the government has done in growing the industry in Samoa. It will also give the Tourism sector an opportunity to meet the challenge it can do so well
WBO regulations means Parker has to fight within 120 days of his win last night. That put the latest fighting date to be Saturday, 8th April.
In Tourism terms that is a great date. It is on the flat tourism season so we need a major injection for the country. It should be cheaper for travellers to fly form Auckland to Apia.
There are also two international events on that week, the Samoa Events run Savaii Marathon on April 8th, and the Apolima Strait 22.3km Swim from Upolu to Savai'i.
These type of activities offer a lot of visitors value for their traveling money to a Pacific destination like Samoa. Keen Runners can run the Marathon on Savaii on Saturday morning and be back in Apia by 2pm for the fight that night.
The other advantage is the dual development of the sport of Boxing for our youth. A programme that is spearheaded by Ministry of Education Sport and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, who no doubt dreamt big things for the development of the sport in Samoa, from his proud participation in Parker's fight at Vector Arena.
The other value is the commercial opportunity of Samoa becoming a haven for holding Boxing camps in the same way Thailand benefits from Mixed Martial Arts camps. Why not Samoa?
Both of these are realistic by-products of a Parker title fight in Samoa, in addition to broadening our Tourism exposure.
The crux will come down to how much Duco wants for the fight. Whatever that figure is, Samoa should look closely at it and build a business case around coming up with the funds to host Parker's next fight.
Not that the government will 100 per cent fund the Fight. Duco has an existing revenue stream that can be transferred, and adjusted to a Samoa venue for their man.
A Parker first defense win, will surely elevate him to a much higher level of commercial value. That makes Parker's first and next defense the best opportunity Samoa has of hosting a Heavyweight Title fight on home soil.
Samoa should at least ask the question, to see if we can financially commit to a Parker fight at Apia Park in partnership with Duco Events and Sponsors, before we can say no to it.
Like Parker's tag line, "This is my/our time", to host a World Heavyweight title fight in Samoa.
We do not have to imagine the possibilities, they are as clear as day.
In my other life, I cover the All Blacks, Boxing, watch the Weather and of course manage Samoa Events