Parker ready for make-or-break fight with Flores

By Thomas Airey 11 December 2018, 12:00AM

Lupesoliai La'auli Joseph Parker  said he is looking to finish off a challenging year “with a bang” against Alexander Flores on Saturday night.

The former World Boxing Organisation (W.B.O.) heavyweight champion is in the final stages of his training for Saturday’s fight at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Lupesoliai said his preparation has been good.

“The training is less intense at this stage.

“The hard work has already been done; I can’t really improve now.

“Getting good rest is the most important thing.”

 After a “good, tough year”, in which he lost the W.B.O. title to Anthony Joshua in March before a defeat to Dillian Whyte in July, Lupesoliai knows he needs a dominant performance.

“The last two fights, it’s all learning,” he said.

“My best days are still ahead, I have another four or five years left in me then I’ll get out.”

Lupesoliai said he’s not sure exactly what to expect from Flores.

“He’s coming in under the radar.”

Little video footage is available of Flores’ 19 career fights (17-1-1 record).

Lupesoliai’s trainer Kevin Barry said this was a make-or-break fight for Parker, and his boxer would have to “demolish” Flores to still be considered among the world’s elite.

But despite the pressure, and multiple world champion Roy Jones Jr suggesting Parker lacks a “warrior’s mentality”, Lupesoliai said there is no need to be desperate.

When asked if he needed to push the boundaries more after losing to Whyte’s roughhouse tactics, he said boxing is meant to be fought straight up with one’s hands.

“Maybe I could get a bit more aggressive, but you have to find the balance.

“For people to question my hunger in the ring, I think anyone who gets in there is hungry.

“People can say what they want, I’ll just focus on what I have to do.”

Lupesoliai arrived in New Zealand last Tuesday after a training camp in Las Vegas.

He said it was very hard being away from family, particularly with his second daughter being born in July.

“You have to do what you have to do.”

Lupesoliai said the facilities and sparring partners available in the United States make it the only place to prepare for a fight.

“Being able to taper off my preparations here has been good though.

“Being around friends and family and feeling that love.”

He said the tough year has meant he’s learned who his true friends and supporters are – those who stuck around.

After Saturday’s fight, Lupesoliai said he will be making plans to travel to Samoa.

“To see friends and family again, and all the supporters.

“I truly appreciate all the support of everyone in Samoa.”

By Thomas Airey 11 December 2018, 12:00AM

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