Former W.B.O. champ rejects call for change

By Ilia L Likou ,

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STILL A TEAM: Lupesoliai Laauliolemalietoa Joseph Parker and Kevin Barry. Photo: Photosport.

STILL A TEAM: Lupesoliai Laauliolemalietoa Joseph Parker and Kevin Barry. Photo: Photosport.

People calling for former W.B.O. heavyweight champion, Lupesoliai Joseph Parker, to get rid of his trainer, Kevin Barry and his promoter, Segiali’i David Higgins, are in for some disappointing news.

Two weeks after the fight, Lupesoliai has flatly denied the calls, indicating in the strongest possible terms that he will stick by his team as they fight their way back to the top.

"What's the point in changing your team?” Lupesoliai is quoted as saying during an interview with The NZ Herald.

“I believe in my team. We all did a great job to get there. It shows we're on that level, we just need to work a bit harder.

"I wouldn’t have got to where I am without Dave doing his job, Kevin doing his job. It's sort of upsetting. All these people saying change, change. Come on guys, my team has done a great job, it's not only me.

"Some people say it to my face. You don't want to say anything back. But if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here today."

Lupesoliai said he understands that some people – including many Samoans – are still frustrated about what happened between Barry and David Tua.

But his relationship is different and he wants to maintain what he has.

Reflecting on the fight where he lost the W.B.O. title to Anthony Joshua, Lupesoliai admitted that he could have done more. 

"The defence and movement was good, but maybe my output wasn't high enough,” he said. “I can't turn back time but if I could I would throw more and put on more pressure because when I did he went back and I got some results.

"We've already analysed it and seen what we can do better next time, but he was the better man on the day and we'll come back stronger.

"Kev's plan was good – the double jab – but I needed to get in more and do more work on the inside because the reach advantage he had – when he was jabbing me from the outside he dictated it. His distance was good. 

“He doesn't really box in other fights but he did in this one and credit to him, he did well.

"I felt I was getting some good results with the body work. I didn't really realise what the ref was doing. I don't blame the ref [for continually interfering], but I didn't realise he was stopping the work on the inside until I watched the fight. Different refs judge fights differently."

Lupesoliai has not wasted any time. He has been hard at training since the defeat.

"Every day we're doing something.

“I don't want to waste it. It was so hard getting in shape… now I'm there I want to maintain it and get even better. I don't have to focus on losing weight, I can focus on skills, technique. I'm more eager now to get to the top than before."

Lupesoliai also shared about the experience of walking out into Principality Stadium in Wales in front of 80,000 fans.

He told The Herald that he and his team had beer splashed on them on the long walk to the Principality Stadium ring. But it was a different reaction after the fight, when he became the first boxer to survive Joshua’s power.

On the way back to the dressing room afterwards, he said pints were raised in a salute of appreciation.

It represented what Parker admits is the crazy world of professional boxing at the highest level, and it's a place he wants to get back to as quickly as possible – and preferably in the United Kingdom. 

"Yeah, we've got some good supporters there. But not only that, that's where the scene is now.

"I have no doubt, I knew I could stay at that level, but that just proved it…" he says in reflection of the first loss of his professional career. 

"A lot of people have said 'you lost the fight, change your team, change your coach, change your promoters'. 

He added that all big champions including Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis had to deal with losses. What he is having to deal with is no different.

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