Samoa’s world heavyweight champion, Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker, is excited about taking on Anthony Joshua next year.
With the biggest fight of his life potentially a step away from being finalised, the man from Tapatapao and Faleula is unfazed by critics who have already doubted his ability to overcome the much-favoured Briton.
“How do I feel about the fight? I’m excited,” he told the Samoa Observer yesterday. “The reason I say that is because I have been chasing Joshua for a long time, for two years now.
“I believe Joshua is a good fighter; strong, powerful, but I back myself with anyone I get into the ring with.
“I’m not scared, I don’t care what he has, I don’t care if he is strong, fast or whatever, I back myself and I believe that I have the ability to beat him.”
And for all the naysayers who believe that Lupesoliai is not ready for Joshua, he says those comments would only push him to train harder and perform better.
“As a fighter or as a sports person, you’ve got to take in the good and the bad,” he said. “The good, you appreciate it and you accept it; and the bad you use it as motivation to push you to train harder and fight harder and be prepared, the most prepared you can be.
“You can’t take away from people that sort of don’t believe in you. You’ve just got to just accept it and use it as ammo.”
And ammo he will need against Joshua.
In the meantime, Lupesoliai is in Samoa and he is ready to welcome 2018, the Samoan way.
The world champion is here with his family for more than a week and so far he has enjoyed every bit of staying at the Taumeasina Island resort.
He knows when he needs to switch off.
When he returns, it will be all business.
But how does one prepare for such a tough fight?
“Preparation is going to be very hard,” he said.
“It’s going to be the best I’ve ever trained before. Other camps I’m bringing in one or two sparring partners but this camp I’m looking at bringing in five or six sparring partners.
“I’m looking at training for about eleven weeks; I’m looking at not fighting at 112(kg) or 111(kg) I’m going to fight at 108(kg).
“So there, I already have goals and those sorts of things I am aiming to achieve before we get to the fight.
“It’s a hard task but it’s exciting because it’s a challenge and I love a challenge and I think our whole team loves challenges.
“And also because I am representing Samoa and New Zealand, I have them on my shoulders so I’m going to go out there and do the best I can.”
Asked about the ratio of all takings generated, Lupesoliai says the 30-35 percent to his name seems like a fair deal.
“We wanted 35 percent, but they wanted 30 percent for us so it’s in between 30-35 percent,” he said.
“So we haven’t locked anything in yet but once it’s locked in then we’ll get contracts signed and everything, but it’s very close.
“For me, it’s not about the money. I mean it’s fair to say that he brings in a lot of viewership and a lot of people to watch him because he is a big name in the U.K., for me, I’m not that well known in the U.K.
“He has two titles and I have one so I feel that’s a fair ratio, it’s pretty much double what we are asking for. I think it’s fair between 30-35 percent and so hopefully once we locked it in we’ll leave the money aside and leave the ratio aside; it’s time to get in shape and get the fight going.”
But with all that aside, the champ says that relaxation is the only thing on his agenda while in Samoa.
“The main purpose for my visit here in Samoa is firstly for holiday,” he said.
“I always have to come to Samoa for relaxation time, to have fun and to come and visit family. Like I said before in other interviews; eat some mangoes, drink some coconuts and get a tan; I’m very white.
“But I am here with my daughter and partner; we are with my parents and brother to relax and just enjoy ourselves before the beginning of 2018.”
So as he puts his feet up for a well deserved rest, Lupesoliai thanked Samoa for always showing support and backing him throughout his boxing career.
“My message to Samoa is firstly, 100 percent gratitude and I’m thankful for their support,” he said.
“You know every fight I go into I can feel the love and support from Samoa. I live in N.Z. and I represent N.Z. and Samoa, but Samoa shows me more love.
“You know Samoa, I win the title and they put on a parade and when I come here they show all the love, respect and all the happiness. So I consider Samoa as the best place to get the most support.
“So for Samoa, I want to say keep supporting me; have faith in me and what I am trying to achieve and I will do my best to make us proud and win the fight.
“It’s good to be in Samoa, I am here for New Years and I am looking to celebrating it Samoan style.”