The training might have been tough yesterday but when you have Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort providing the perfect backdrop, and a makeshift ring in the middle of the main lobby area, it was hard to remove the smile from Lupesoliai Joseph Parker's face.
Parker had his first real hit out in Samoa yesterday at the resort ahead of the Rumble in Paradise against Jason Bergman at Faleata this Saturday.
“I love this hotel, what can I say, it’s been A plus,” said Lupesoliai.
His trainer, Kevin Barry, couldn’t agree more.
“The makeshift ring here in the lobby is great, there’s no other country in the world where you can get that,” Barry said.
Both Lupesoliai and Barry are feeling calm and collected heading into this week’s training schedule.
“Our preparations are solid,” said Barry. “We have done all our hard work, this is a tapering off phase; this is a phase where it’s just a matter of keeping Joe nice and relaxed, keeping him sharp, just doing enough training everyday to tell the body that yes, there’s something coming up, I’m building up towards an occasion.”
Barry has his plan of attack in place for the lead up to fight night and they are feeling positive about where they are in terms of training.
“He’s just going through his paces at the moment, and we’re just reinforcing our game plan and what we have to do on Saturday night to be victorious,” Barry told the Samoa Observer.
Parker said the most of the hard work has been done.
“Kevin and I are working a lot on technique and skill. I know my fitness is good to go 12 rounds so we’re not really worried about fitness but we’re worried about perfecting the little things you know, the basics and fighting a southpaw."
“So it’s mostly skills and techniques and just shaking off the cobwebs from the flight still and just adapting to this nice weather.”
Lupesoliai and his team are also eager to pay a visit to the Faleata Sports Complex; to see the fight venue and get a sense of what the atmosphere will be like on the night.
“I’m excited to see the place we’re fighting in and I’m sure that once it’s packed out it’s going to be an amazing atmosphere,” Lupesoliai said.
In the wake of last night’s IMB and WBO heavyweight title fights, Lupesoliai is looking to the future and a world title fight.
“It was a good fight to watch the heavyweights and the champions and see how far we’re off and what we have to face in the future. I believe we’re heading the right way and I look forward to one day fighting those guys in the future. But right now we’re sort of just taking the right steps at the right time,” he said.
Both Lupesoliai and Barry expressed their immense gratitude once again to the people of Samoa for all their love, respect and support of Lupesoliai throughout his career.
After a big year in 2015, the Rumble in Paradise fight has become very dear to Lupesoliai and his team. “Joe’s had some spectacular victories and he’s worked exceptionally hard in the gym but knowing that the end of our year was going to be fighting in Samoa, has been something that has kept us uplifted on the hardest days,” Barry told the Samoa Observer.
“Joe is so humbled by the love and respect and the support he’s had from the people of Samoa and this is his way of giving back and saying 'hey thank-you for supporting me, I’m going to make you all proud and I’m really happy I could bring this fight to Samoa'.”
Lupesoliai and his team will be holding an open training session for the public on Wednesday from 11am – 1pm at the Faleata Sports Complex for his fans. He will also be signing autographs at the Digicel Store in Apia from 2pm – 3pm on Wednesday afternoon.