Big welcome expected for Parker
Arriving at their final press conference in Auckland on Thursday wearing lavalava and traditional pattern shirts before departing for Samoa, heavyweight Lupesoliai Joseph Parker and his team are vowing to embrace the chaotic welcome they are likely to receive in Samoa.
However, there will be checks and balances once they arrive in Samoa today, seven days before the fight against American Jason Bergman, and they will be provided mainly by trainer Kevin Barry, who jokingly said he would confiscate 24-year-old Parker's phone once they step off the plane.
Parker, 24, and Barry visited Samoa, the birthplace of Parker's parents Dempsey and Sala, in October following the victory over Kali Meehan, and the welcome for one of the island nation's favourite sons gave Barry an insight into what to expect next week.
"Joe comes from two very, very big families," he said. "When you talk about aunties and uncles, Joe has got dozens of them. A lot of them still live in Samoa and because they feel he belongs to them, everyone wants him to do things.
"We're well aware of it. Joe knows what his focus is and I play the role of the bad guy pretty well."
Parker said: "The main focus of this trip to Samoa is achieving a victory. We have to stay focused and it's good to have people around you to keep distractions to a minimum."