Parker copping punches in preparation for Samoa
In preparing for his fight against southpaw Jason Bergman in Samoa a week on Saturday, heavyweight Lupesoliai Laauli Joseph Parker has unintentionally worn more punches than in any other training camp.
Parker's battle with American Bergman in Apia, which will be screened live on pay per view television, has been tagged "Rumble in Paradise", but the South Aucklander's recent four-week camp has been anything but.
An elbow injury and lower back problem which have been aggravated at Parker's Las Vegas base are other issues for him and trainer Kevin Barry to deal with as the 24-year-old looks to continue his rise up the ranks, but it's Parker's defensive lapses as he adjusts to a new style which might be the most concerning.
"He's been hit with more punches during this training camp than ever before," Barry said. "He wants to go to the right but against a southpaw you have to go to left.
"It's made me a little concerned because I like to be prepared."
Bergman (25-11-2) has won 17 of his last 19 fights but is unlikely to seriously threaten Parker, who has a perfect 17-0 professional record.
The fight is the focus but Parker is also looking forward to a much-needed break before preparing for bouts in April and July which he and his camp hope get him near a mandatory challenge in a division in a state of flux following the defeat of Wladimir Klitschko.