Junior Fa claims mental edge over Lupesoliai

Tongan-New Zealander heavyweight boxer, Junior Fa, has come out swinging at Lupesoliai Joseph Parker, claiming a mental edge over his Samoan rival.

Newshub’s Brad Lewis reported that Fa thinks he as a psychological advantage over Lupesoliai going back to their four fights in the amateur ranks, which saw the Polynesians take two wins each.

"If you were there and you saw the fights, you would think it was 4-0 to me,” the 30-year-old told Lewis.

“I believe - and I know he knows - that I beat him four times.

"He will have doubts and try to dust it off, but he knows I have got him and that will play on his head."

Talks for a professional rematch between the pair recently broke down due to what Lupesoliai’s manager David Higgins described as “astronomical” financial demands from the Fa camp.

But Fa’s manager Mark Keddell told Lewis he thinks his boxer warrants a purse of T$1.7 million given his undefeated record and status as the World Boxing Organisation’s sixth-ranked heavyweight (Lupesoliai sits second on that list).

Keddell said such a bout between two top-10 heavyweights would draw plenty of interest internationally, especially if it came early in the world’s return to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic:

“You would think the commercials would work out well for both sides.

"Joseph Parker, from what I have read, makes NZ$2 million a fight, so why would they expect Junior Fa to fight for a couple hundred thousand dollars.

"Junior needs a reasonable payday as well - he also has a family to feed."

For his part, Fa told Newshub he wants to fight Lupesoliai if the money is right.

"Heck yeah, I want that fight," said Fa.

"It's a business, and there are a lot of different things going on with this and that, but I know Joseph is keen and I know I am, so hopefully, the other stuff gets sorted.”

He noted some frustration at the negotiation process, but said it’s simply the reality of the professional boxing landscape.

"I trust my team that they will do what is right for me from a financial standpoint,” Fa said. 

“We will come to an agreement, if both sides are willing to work things out. 

"It will happen and I can't wait to face him."

On a recent video Q&A session between Lupesoliai and his promoter Eddie Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing talked down the idea of an all-Kiwi classic between the Polynesian pair.

Hearn said such a bout would be good for New Zealand audiences, but would want a more internationally significant return to the ring for Lupesoliai:

“Every sport is going to be trying to capture the attention and the space, so if we don’t come back and start making major fights, fights people wanna see…,” Hearn said.

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