Joseph Parker is a local hero in his home country of New Zealand, but he evidently has a heavy amount of Samoan backing as well. According to a report from the New Zealand Herald, the Samoan government is contributing nearly $140,000 to Parker’s upcoming title fight against Andy Ruiz Jr.
Parker’s fight will take place at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Herald reported that the New Zealand government and Auckland Council "both declined funding for the fight", which led to promoters Duco Events asking Samoa for sponsorship.
Parker’s promoter Dean Lonergan spoke with Fight Sports after the bout was announced, and he mentioned Parker’s popularity in Samoa as well as New Zealand. He believes this fight will catapult Parker into more international stardom.
"This is a crossover fight for Joe Parker," Lonergan said. "He’s massive in New Zealand and Samoa, he’s reasonably well known to the boxing fans in Australia and a lot of the boxing fans around the world. But this is going to give him an opportunity to broaden that reach and put himself on the world map."