Boxing: Junior Fa taking cautious approach for blockbuster fight against Joseph Parker

After surgery last year, Junior Fa is taking a cautious approach to his training for his blockbuster fight with Joseph Parker. 

Fa will have to time his preparation to perfection, if he's going to be ready for the big showdown in Auckland later this month. 

The 31-year-old is targeting a knockout victory and will then turn his attention to bigger fights.

"Beating Joseph Parker has a lot of treats that come with it and a lot of them being bigger fights," Fa says. "I think both of us will be going in there with a great mindset. 

"I feel like he'll still be hurting from his surgery, to be completely honest, and I just can't wait for these hard parts to be done. Then, it's just fight week and resting and looking forward to fighting." 

Fa isn't short on words for Parker, warning he should be under no illusions that he'll be ready. 

"Comparing myself to a few months ago is a big difference," he says. "It's going to be the best version of myself that people have seen, so it's going to be good."

Parker has held most of the spotlight in the build-up to the encounter, with plans already in motion for his next bout, most likely against Brit Derek Chisora. 

With Parker's eyes elsewhere, Fa has the perfect opportunity to steal the fight. 

"If I beat Parker, then I can face Derek Chisora, if they're there... and it looks like they are there," Fa says. 

"I don't mind not having the spotlight. It gives me more time to do what I do, which is train hard and focus on the gameplan."

The Aucklander is confident the pressure will build on Parker.

"Definitely, all the pressure's on him," he says. "He's facing the guy that isn't really well known in the sport. 

"People don't expect me to win, but I expect myself to win and people around me expect me to win, so that really puts the pressure on him."

The last days of Fa's camp will be crucial and trainer Eugene Bareman isn't sugar-coating it.

"We're cutting it fine, but we're fine," Bareman says. "We're on track, but we need the next few weeks. 

"I'm not going to be one of those trainers that say we can fight tomorrow, because we need the next few weeks. He's probably showing signs of where we want him to be over the last week. 

"We've been very cautious with what we introduce in terms of strength and conditioning, and also our specific boxing training. It's been a little bit more calculated than previous camps, where we've lumped a whole lot on him. 

"What we've done is periodically introduced him to heavier training, so we don't cook the system."

After surgery last year forced postponement from the original date, Bareman admits Fa's situation is unique and presents new challenges from a coaching point of view. 

"We've been very diligent with the way we're monitoring his health," Bareman says. "We're pushing him up to the line, but not overstepping the line. 

"I'm not going to say we did that before, but we're just a lot more diligent." 

The heavyweight boxer is based out of City Kick Boxing, where he trains alongside UFC star Israel Adesanya, who has helped him to the perfect place.

"Not a lot of boxing camps get to enjoy that benefit, because they're in a small tight group, whereas we're a slightly bigger group," Fa says.

Bareman knows what makes a champion and he believes Fa fits the mould. 

"We have several world class fighters in this gym and Junior 100 percent competes with all of them," he says.

Fa says: "The way that I'm performing in sparring has added a lot more confidence.

"I'm feeling good, I just can't wait to fight."  

This fight will have major ramifications for both fighters in their quest for a world title shot. 

Watch the full story above and join us for live updates of the Parker v Fa fight on February 27