In my interview with Duco boss and founder David Higgins on Thursday last week, I posed the possibility of Samoa hosting Joseph Parker’s first W.B.O. defence. The figure I use in the interview is $5m, which was a conversation starter in this discussion.
Afoa: If the government of Samoa were to come to you and say, David we have $5m to back a fight (Joseph’s first defence) in Samoa?
Higgins: We would have a very serious look at that. If they are going to put that sort of money on the table, we would have to have a very serious look at holding the fight in Apia at the stadium there.
It’s not ridiculous, because using satellite television you can still run Pay Per View (PPV) in NZ, you can still broadcast around the world and still have PPV in the United Kingdom.
Really the only effect it will have is on the gate and the extent to which British Tourists and NZers will go to Apia. But I think there would be huge visitations, they would. That is certainly a consideration.
The other consideration is whether it’s possible to hold the fight in NZ. The last fight against Ruiz in which Joe won the WBO championship. The Samoan Govt support was invaluable. If they haven’t supported it we might not have held the fight here in NZ.
I think everyone got to see how important the home advantage can be it was so close. You’ve got to say if the fight was in Mexico or the United States, Joseph might not have won the fight.
I think that when I am in Samoa, I will reach out to the PM and the Government to thank them for their invaluable support, and the people of Samoa. And also to discuss whether they would like to continue the relationship.
They came on board quite late this time, but if they were to come on board in say for an April fight against Hughie Fury, whether in Auckland, Samoa or wherever, It’s quite a long build up that we can use to promote Samoa leading in.
If they are going to support a fight in NZ, again say Auckland, it will wouldn’t certainly be anywhere near the $5m that you mentioned, it will be much lower investment that will become part of the overall support package to make the event happen and we deliver tourism promotion benefits and profile around the world as we did this time.
Afoa: Just thinking outside the square here for Samoa, the memorable fights of the last 40years are Rumble in the Jungle and Thrilla in Manilla 1974 and 1975, if Samoa was ever to host a Championship Title Fight, probably now is the chance.
Higgins: I like your thinking and it’s an exciting thought. Some people say it’s a lot of money and wasted money. I look at it more as investing. You spend money to make money.
If you think of spending $5m to use your figure, what do you get back? I think if it’s (Hughie) Fury you will get thousands of British fans because they travel, the British fans in particular. When Lennox Lewis fought in America 10-20,000 British fans would travel.
Thousands of British fans would come down to Samoa, New Zealanders and corporate visitors to the event, you will get thousands going up filling up the main island and hotels, visiting Savaii, To Sua and other attractions. That would be a big cash injection into the economy to offset the hosting fee.
It is certainly a concept I’m interested in.
We did the first ever televised international boxing match in Samoa and it went very well. Everyone paid their bills, we did not have any problems. We treated everyone the same as we would in NZ and Aust and we found it to be quite enjoyable and a memorable promotion. And so, we will certainly be interested in that conversation when the time is right.
Afoa: Now, there is another big event here in NZ involving the British and Irish Lions a month out from the end of April. There is already thousands of British fans coming down.
Higgins: Well, exactly, you can tap into that fan base for sure.