Lupesoliai back to training earlier than ever
After his knockout win over Shawndell Winters on Sunday afternoon, heavyweight boxer Lupesoliai Joseph Parker was back in New Zealand training on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old arrived in Auckland on Tuesday morning, spent the day with friends and family and then got back to work immediately.
“I feel like this year’s going to be a big year,” Lupesoliai told the Samoa Observer.
“I’m just going to keep up with training and stay focussed on keeping fit and strong, and then prepare for whatever fight is next.”
He said it’s the first time he has ever gone into training so early after a bout:
“All the other fights, after a fight everyone’s celebrating, everyone’s having a good time, I’m joining in, I’m taking a break.
“But I feel, like I’ve said before, like I’ve got a lot more drive now, more than before.”
While still young compared to the other big names in the heavyweight division like Anthony Joshua (30), Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte (both 31), Lupesoliai knows he is getting closer to the end of his career.
“What’s there to celebrate? It was a good win, I had a nice feed, a nice big steak after the fight but at the end of the day, I’m only giving myself three or four years so I have to make the most of it,” he said.
“It was great to get a win, but it was expected, from the opponent I had I was expected to get a good win.”
Lupesoliai said he didn’t find the fight on Sunday in Frisco, Texas, U.S.A. particularly taxing:
“It was five rounds, I didn’t take too many punches, I got one punch which caused the cut but other than that.”
The Samoan-New Zealander was in control for the duration of the bout, however Shawndell Winters did offer some resistance, especially inside and up against the ropes.
“I could’ve easily fought from the outside and used my reach, and fought at a distance,” Lupesoliai said.
But back in the ring for the first time since June 2019, he felt compelled to change things up.
“He’s got a bit of power but I didn’t feel anything trouble me, maybe I took too many shots which I could have easily avoided, but I was excited to be in there because I haven’t fought for a long time,” Lupesoliai said.
“Every time I fought at distance and every time I used my jab it was working well…, I just got overly excited and that caused me to divert from the gameplan.
“I’m quite hard on myself, but overall I’m happy I got the win and the knockout that we wanted.”
And looking ahead, Lupesoliai said the sooner the better for his next fight:
“May would be good, June would be good.
“I want a minimum of three fights this year, but it’d be perfect to fit in four, but it’s easier said than done.
“I’m in shape, I’m gonna stay in shape, and I’m going to continue to get in better shape.”
Even though the relatively unknown winters wasn’t Lupesoliai’s most high-profile opponent, he gave it everything in training in the leadup.
“I sparred over 118 rounds, I wouldn’t have prepared any different if I was fighting someone else in a top fight,” he said.
“Each camp I want to lift it a bit more, there’s things we can adjust and change to be better.”
But right now Lupesoliai is embracing an even important part of the pre-fight process – spending time with his young family in New Zealand.
“I haven’t been with them for eight weeks; my three girls and my partner Laine,” he said.
“She’s very supportive and very strong when I’m away.”
And before he flies back to Las Vegas for another eight-week camp ahead of the next bout, Lupesoliai is looking forward to spending more time in his other home:
“Every chance I get I always try to stop in in Samoa.
“I wanna visit my family, I wanna visit my grandad that lives there, and I just want to have a bit of time to sit down underneath a palm tree and have a nice mango or coconut, and just chill for a bit.
“It’s great just to be away from boxing and away from media, sport, the public. Nice time to reflect and relax a bit, it restarts you for the next camp.”
Lupesoliai said he remains thankful as ever to the people of Samoa, and sponsors Digicel, Taumeasina and Blue Pacific who have stuck by him through the ups and downs of his career.
“I’m sure a lot of people [in Samoa] tuned in to watch the fight.”