14 Dec 2016

Sport: Samoa hoping Parker win boosts local boxing

12:15 pm on 14 December 2016

The Samoa government hopes Joseph Parker's WBO championship victory will boost boxing in the islands.

The government financially backed the New Zealand Samoan's title bout with Andy Ruiz over the weekend.

Sports Minister Loau Keneti Sio said the whole country was proud of Parker's achievement and there is hope that it will encourage Samoan youth to get into boxing.

"Looking back through our records, boxing is one of the popular games down in the islands those days," Loau said.

"And now we were trying through the grassroots level, through schools, to revive the sport in a way it should be. So I would say, yes of course, the Joseph Parker fight was brilliant."

Parker is the first Pacific islander to hold a major heavyweight boxing title.

no caption

Crowds of people welcomed Joseph Parker before his January fight against Jason Bergman in Apia Photo: Photosport

Loau said the government will look at how it can officially celebrate the championship victory.

He said the government is open to marking the historic feat.

"Everybody is saying that in a way, I would say, and hoping.

"Our Prime Minister is in New Zealand now and he will be back next week or the end of this week," Loau said.

While the Cabinet hadn't made a decision, Loau said he would love to see the occasions marked and tongue-firmly-in-cheek, suggested a holiday might be on the cards.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs