Uncles lead from the front

By Maddison Clarey ,

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PARKER SUPPORT: Su'a Parker and Rudy Baice were among the entourage during yesterday's march on Beach Road.

PARKER SUPPORT: Su'a Parker and Rudy Baice were among the entourage during yesterday's march on Beach Road. (Photo: Ilia L. Likou.)

They have become household faces for millions of Lupesoliai Joseph Parker fans all over the world. 

 Su’a Parker and Rudy Baice, Parker’s uncles, are two men with Samoan tatau who walk Parker into the ring every time he fights.

Tonight at Tuana’imato will be a very special moment for them when they walk their nephew out in front of their own people. 

Family is paramount to Parker.

And his journey to his elite status today would have been remarkably different without the influence of his two uncles.

 “We love Joseph and we are strong supporters,” Mr. Baice told the Weekend Observer.

 “Joseph has a lot of fans, but he’s always liked his uncles and aunties. We are a team and we all come together to support him. Everywhere he goes, we go. We like to support him, from the start.”

Mr Baice was impressed with Lupesoliai’s rigid training schedule and how far he’s come throughout his career.

“His journey’s been very, very good. He trains very hard, comes back from New Zealand and he never stops. He just keeps going, keeps going, keeps going. 

“Just like when he’s been to the gym, he’ll come back inside the house and he’ll start doing push ups and sit ups in front of us, and it shows us how hard he trains when he comes home.”

Both uncles walk before Lupesoliai at every fight, and being there to support him is the most important thing to them.

“It’s important to me because when Joseph started boxing, I was the only uncle who was always with him,” said Mr. Baice.

“From amateur to now, I’ve always been with him. The New Zealand team support him with the money but we’ve supported him from the amateur to the professional; we follow him everywhere he goes.”

For Mr. Baice, this fight cannot be compared to any of Lupesoliai’s previous fights.

For him, having Lupesoliai back here to fight in Samoa is such a different experience due to the high level of support the team has received being here in Samoa.

But he is a little concerned about Lupesoliai’s first southpaw fight.

“It worries me because it’s the first time in his life to fight with a guy like Jason,” said Mr. Baice.  “After the fight we’ll know how Joseph can go with a southpaw but that’s the only thing that’s worrying me. He’s different to anything he’s fought before, so with the fight with the southpaw it has me a little bit worried.”

But Mr Baice is confident that Lupesoliai can handle the challenge and is looking forward to a short fight on Saturday.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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