Any parent would have been proud. And so it was the case for Sala and Dempsey Parker who watched their son, Lupesoliai Joseph, treated with so much respect and love when the nation honoured him yesterday.
The nation paused to welcome their champion. As Lupesoliai made his way through the crowded streets and mob of fans, Sala and Dempsey beamed with pride at the reception.
It was in this moment, that it was clear Lupesoliai no longer just belongs to them, but to all of Samoa who have claimed him as their own.
Sala said the atmosphere was electric, it was too emotional for her.
“I don’t want to talk about it because it’s very emotional,” she said. “I cried the whole time, not because of Lupesoliai or Joseph. I cried because I saw the love.”
The proud parents sat on top the stage looking down at all of the supporters who weathered drizzling rain and the hot Samoan sun just to be at arms distance of the heavy weight champion.
The Parkers always knew that Samoa was backing their son, but now more than ever, it was clear just how much Lupesoliai means to Samoa.
“I cried because I saw the people, and the love they showed to sit in the sun and rain. I cried my heart out, because of how much they support Joseph and all of us,” she told the Samoa Observer.
The Parkers thanked everyone for the support Samoa has shown for their son and they are appreciative of the love displayed during yesterday’s parade.