SOLOMON Haumono knows about courage.
Life for the big man has been a series of highs and lows, both cruel and kind.
He’s experienced his share of sporting glory and endured spells of hopelessness but Haumono’s resolve has shone through and he’s now as close as ever to his boyhood dream of heavyweight glory.
Standing in the way of Haumono’s dream title fight is one of boxing’s most highly regarded big men, Joseph Parker. Parker is a young lion; his savagery steeped in power and speed.
It’s easy to see why he is being touted as a future world champion.
The odds may well be stacked against the man many call ‘Sol’ but the former rugby league star has been to hell and back and he believes he can shock the boxing world and come away with an unlikely victory.
“I know that not many people have given me a chance but I believe in what I believe in and I intend on proving different on the night,” said Haumono, fresh off training camp in the United States.
Defying a gruff exterior, Haumono is a surprisingly mild mannered and softly spoken man.
Gone is the brashness of his youth, tempered perhaps by his trials and tribulations away from sport but don’t take his quiet nature for weakness. Haumono has dynamite in his fists and he has no plans of this fight going to the cards.
“I don’t want it to go to the cards at all,” he continued.
“I don’t like my chances if it goes to the cards so it has to be a knockout to win,”
Boxing is fraught with missed opportunities and Haumono, who is 40 years old, knows this could very well be his last crack at a chance of fighting for the sport’s ultimate prize, the heavyweight championship of the world.
“I don’t see any chance like this coming up again and I’ve been working toward this chance right from the beginning,” Haumono explained. “The opportunity has come now and it’s about making the most of it,”
Without doubt this is the final boarding call for Haumono, lose this fight and any chance of that ever so elusive world title fight is destroyed. His career retired like a once high-flying jet that lies listless in an aircraft boneyard.
Haumono knows this. Perhaps that’s why he’s gone all out this time around to ensure it doesn’t happen.
Going that extra step means Haumono has enlisted the help of well-respected trainer, and ex-heavyweight fighter, Justin Fortune and ‘Big Sol’ couldn’t be happier with the partnership.
“He (Justin) has obviously been a top level boxer and now a trainer. Being in with the likes of Manny Pacquiao he brings a lot to the table. I’m just thankful to have him a part of our team going into this fight and this promotion.”
“It’s been a good learning curve (for me) and the things we have been working towards exploiting (against Parker) on the night will come true,”
America has undoubtedly afforded a superior camp for Haumono.
It’s given him his best opportunity of defeating his younger and more fancied rival. Haumono highlighted the quality sparring as the biggest difference between training camps in the U.S compared with here in Australia.
“The big difference is the sparring,” he quipped.
“In America you have a lot more fighters and being able to fight to that standard is the fortunate thing about being there. Everything has been put in place, I went there knowing that I’ve done everything I can to be ready,”
Often fighters will watch a ton of film on their upcoming opponents but Haumono went one step further when he attended Parker’s most recent fight against Carlos Takam back in May. Sol liked what he saw that night.
“I took it upon myself personally to be at that fight, to see first hand and there were many things I seen that I liked. I’ve worked hard in the camp to exploit those things and I intend on making them happen on the night.”
The cards are stacked in Parker’s favour but one gets the impression that Haumono is paying little attention to such triviality. He knows he has the resolve to beat the odds and the power to stop Joseph Parker and he plans to take this opportunity with both hands whilst putting Australian boxing back in the spotlight.
“I’m just thankful to be in this position, I’m thankful the country is behind me and I’m just looking to make the most of the opportunity on the night and doing boxing in Australia proud,” he concluded.
The big Trans-Tasman battle will take place on Thursday 21st of July on Main Event.
Words: Dan Attias/Follow Dan on Twitter
Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images