America's Cup 2021: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli helmsmen Jimmy Spithill takes an unusual preparation to final with sparing session with Joseph Parker

The Prada Cup final is just one day away, and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli co-helmsmen Jimmy Spithill has taken an unusual approach to preparing himself for the big race. 

Spithill jumped in the ring with New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker for some pre-race preparation. 

Spithill said he feels there's similarities between the two sports as has used his boxing as a way to help his decision-making under pressure.  

"I found it really helped my sailing with hand-eye coordination," Spithill says. "Now with these boats, if you make a mistake it's under stress and pressure, so that's why I really love boxing."

The Australian isn't foreign to the boxing ring, with Spithill working with former Warriors captain Monty Betham since he arrived last year.

Betham has been very impressed by the Luna Rossa helmsman attitude and work ethic. 

"He's in the top two percent of athletes I've trained with or played alongside," Betham says. "He's got that mindset, that work ethic and very coachable.

"If you tell him something he'll put it in the right context straight away. 

"My wife thinks I have a bromance with him and you can understand why because he's high performance and I love that."

The former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker was impressed by the Australian in his one minute sparing session.

The pair were supposed to spar for two rounds in front of the media on Friday morning, but Parker’s manager David Higgins pulled the pin after just one.

"Sparing with Jimmy was quite intense," Parker says. "He said I had the chance to meet him, I've never met him before so that was cool, but then to do a round with him, it wasn't the longest round but it was quite intense."

The 29-year old wasn't sure what to expect with Spithill but came away mightly impressed. 

"He's got some skill," he says. "He's been working hard with Monty Betham to work on his fitness and he loves the sport of boxing, so it's good to finally meet him and mix it up."

Parkers has heard all about the attitude of competitive Aussie and enjoyed mixing it up with him with his blockbuster fight with Junior Fa just two weeks away. 

"Before I got here, people were telling me he's none stop, he's got all this energy, so positive and he keeps giving and giving so it was great to witness it myself," he says. "Even though it was just body shots, we were throwing a lot of punches in the one minute, so it was great to mix it with him."

The Australian isn't foreign to the boxing ring, with Spithill working with former Warriors captain Monty Betham since he arrived in New Zealand in 2020.

Join us on Saturday for live updates of the Luna Rossa v Team UK America's Cup challenger final.