Kiwi heavyweight Junior Fa has emerged from his first bout of sparring against WBC champion Deontay Wilder with a renewed sense of confidence.
Fa is one of three sparring partners handpicked by Wilder's camp to help the American prepare for his fight with Briton Tyson Fury on December 1.
Speaking to Newshub from Wilder's base in his native Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Fa believes he did his own skills justice in his opening day of sparring against "The Bronze Bomber" in an ideal litmus test of his abilities.
"Yeah, I definitely held my own against him," said Fa.
"He is looking very sharp. That's the impressive thing with Wilder, apparently he's just always in shape and I saw that today. He's very fit, he's looking very sharp, and he's very focused.
"For me just to be in there and be able to spar with him and basically hold my own - that definitely does things for my confidence."
The 29-year-old said the nerves he anticipated weren't an issue as he tried to approach it as simply another day in the ring.
"I definitely wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. I had confidence in myself and picture it as just another sparring session.
"Plus it was good to know that you were only going to be in there for two or three rounds."
The undefeated Fa (15-0) said he managed to avoid the full brunt of Wilder's renowned punching power in his first opportunity to assess the American's style first-hand.
"His power is a real snap…I just had to make sure that I wasn’t doing anything silly, keep my range right and make sure I time his shots perfectly so that I don’t have to feel how strong they are."
"He is very, very alert. Eyes are focused all the time. He doesn't switch off.
"He has a great style which compliments his reach and his height. He's slightly awkward at times as well.
"He's looking really good and I feel like he's going to put on a show on December 1."
Afterwards, Wilder's trainer Jay Deas offered Fa and his sparring colleagues some glowing feedback.
"They said it was the best first day of sparring that they've had. He was really impressed with how it all went and he really sang our praises.
"The tone of his voice and the look in his face, I can tell that they're really excited for the rest of the camp because they know they've brought in a good team."
With his recent health scare now firmly behind him, the sessions with Wilder are sure to add plenty to Fa's game as he looks ahead to his own upcoming bout against Argentine Rogelio Omar Rossi on the undercard of Joseph Parker vs Alexander Flores in Christchurch.
Deas instructed them to fight their natural style, but Fa anticipates that as they progress through the four-week camp, they'll look for them to mimic certain characteristics of Fury's game – specifically his movement and fakes.
With a successful day one in the bank, Fa now turns his attention to another local adversary.
"There's too much food here," he laughed. "I've got to find myself a good little healthy café or something because my hotel room is just surrounded by fast food restaurants. The view from my hotel room is Pizza Hut.
"I went out to a great BBQ joint the other night. But that's enough fast food eating for me, I have to find myself some salad joints."