Parker and Leapai ready for war
Being Samoan will not stand in the way of two of Samoa's biggest names in boxing, Lupesoliai Joseph Parker and Alex Leapai, when they step out onto the ring at Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. on Sunday.
And former W.B.O champion Lupesoliai has promised not to repeat the same mistakes Anthony Joshua did against Any Ruiz when he trades blows with Lepaai, who has already called himself the "Samoan Ruiz."
Lupesoliai makes his first appearance on United States soil to fight Leapai. He and Leapai faced off at the main press conference on on Friday and had their weigh-ins.
Lepai agreed to the fight two weeks ago after American Eric Molina fell through, Stuff reported.
According to Stuff, Joshua faced a similar situation last month when Andy Ruiz Jr stepped in on five weeks’ notice after Jarrell Miller failed multiple drug tests.
"We already knew we were fighting on June 29, it's just a different approach and style," Parker said when asked how he has handled the disruption.
"To be honest, I don't care who they put in front of me. I'll fight Ruiz or Dillian Whyte again tomorrow. But I know I have to climb back up to get to the top.
"Joshua started talking like, 'when I beat Ruiz, Wilder's next', and this and that. But you can never look past an opponent, no matter who it is."
For Lupesoliai, he has to adjust to Leapai's height, having gone through the majority of training camp preparing for the much taller Molina.
Leapai has a heavy overhand right, while there is always the danger of an accidental headbutt coming into play against shorter fighters keen to get on the inside, reported Stuff.
But, like Joshua was against Ruiz, Lupesoliai is widely expected to roll through the Australian-Samoan.
"Even though people say he's not in shape and he's had his time, he's still a dangerous fighter," Lupesoliai said.
"Heavyweights carry their power no matter what age, no matter how many fights they've had. So he's still dangerous and I know what I have to do."
Making his first appearance under the Matchroom Boxing banner, it's also coincided with a change in attitude towards his diet in between training camps, which drew high praise from trainer Kevin Barry, reported Stuff.
The 27-year-old started this camp on his fighting weight - way down on previous bouts - leaving him more time to hone his skills, with a key emphasis head movement and feints.
"When I fought Joshua I came in at 123kg and went down to 107kg. For Dillian Whyte I came in 120kg, and I went down to 109kg. It's a waste of time losing the weight, it's the wrong focus," Lupesoliai said. "I've found something that works for me now."
For the 39-year-old Leapai, he said he is ready to take on Parker. "I’m fit, I’ve been training for months hoping to get a big fight and Joseph Parker is in for a big shock,” Leapai told the Daily Telegraph.
“I’m going to put him under a lot of pressure from the opening bell. I’m in good shape and I’m ready to give Joseph Parker the toughest night of his life.”
Leapai said he has learnt a lot from his fight against Klitschko.
“I learned in that fight that I can’t stay back and wait. I have to force the fight from the opening bell and back my power,” Leapai said.
“I’m a big puncher and I have to throw big, heavy punches from the start of the fight to keep my opponent off balance.
“Joe is a real good boxer and a nice guy. But this is my big chance to force my way back in to the world top 10 and I have to make the most of it.”
The fight will be televised in Samoa by TV3.