The Samoa government last month agreed to pay Parker’s promoters, Duco Events, US$100,000 as a show of support for Parker’s WBO title defence against Hughie Fury.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi told the Samoa Observer it was the same amount they contributed towards December’s successful world title fight against Andy Ruiz.
Parker will now fight the Romanian 2.3-metre giant Razvan Cojanu on Saturday after Fury pulled out, citing a back injury.
Cojanu, who is ranked 14th, is a significant step down in class from the unbeaten Fury.
Despite the change, Samoa’s Sports Minister, Loau Keneti Sio, said the cabinet’s commitment still stands.
“We haven’t met again and had a decision on that but I’m in a position to say that we still remain with the decision that we had to support him in,” he said.
“Even though the opponent has been changed that doesn’t mean we’re going to back off from there because even though his opponent has been changed he needs to fight– so we need to support him.”
Last year the Samoa Government declared a half day public service holiday to recognise Parker’s world title win and in February he was awarded an Order of Merit.
Loau said Parker’s success is a “once in a million” event and it’s important for Samoa to celebrate it and give support.
“We can see that he has got a big future and not only that but he will have the exposure and will carry the flag for Samoa in a way.
“So we are looking into that financially that we need to support him at the moment.”
Loau said with the fight being moved from central Auckland to the 12,000-seat Manakau Events Centre hopefully meant more members of the Samoan community will be able to attend and show their support in person.
Parker says it’s going to be no easy feat beating Romanian Cojanu in his WBO World Heavyweight title defence.
“We’ve been in two training camps together in the last four years so he knows how I fight, he has seen me train.
“The way I see this fight is that it’s more dangerous than the Fury fight because he has power, so I’m looking forward to seeing who will figure each other out first in the ring.”
Parker said he’s been training hard but admits he has had to change tact now he’s got a new taller component.
“My focus is just purely being prepared, training hard being 100 per cent physically and mentally, I’m looking forward to being in the ring letting my hands go and hopefully hitting someone.”
Cojanu who’s had 300 amateur fights says he knows Parker’s mistakes and is ready to take him on in the ring.
“I know a lot his strategies which he has used in the past and which he wanted to use against Fury.
Parker’s coach Kevin Barry said the fact the pair have trained together could give Cojanu the upper hand.
“Razvan probably knows more about Joe than any other opponent he has fought so far, this is not someone who is not experienced, this is a risky fight for me because of those circumstances.”
“We’re going to follow our game plan, we’re going to look to break this guy down, we’re going to fight a very complete fight. And if during that performance there’s a knockout that would be great but Joe won’t be going out there trying to get a knockout to satisfy the requirements of anyone else.”
- PNC sources