By Duncan Johnstone
Joseph Parker has sounded an ominous warning to his rivals, saying a new weights programme has added to his thunderous power.
And he's adamant it hasn't come at the expense of his notorious speed. The improvements come as he readies himself for bigger and tougher challenges.
Parker takes on giant Russian Alexander Dimitrenko in Manukau on October 1 and if he can maintain his unbeaten record he is set to head to the UK to fight Briton David Price and then have his mandatory title challenge against IBF world champion Anthony Joshua.
Parker said his latest training camp in Las Vegas had a new emphasis on weight training and he and his stablemate Izu Ugonoh quickly recognised benefits.
"I feel like I have added more power and I think my speed is getting faster as well. This is a different beast," Parker said.
He said his body was "in pain" after the initial sessions pushing tin but that had eased.
"It has brought power, the sparring partners have felt that power," Parker said.
Parker's trainer Kevin Barry said the move to a more dedicated weights programme was a natural progression for Parker, who had previously been using systems involving his own body weight.
"We are always introducing new things, we are always mixing and changing things with our training schedules," Barry said.
"I'm very happy wtih the results we have been getting. In the past we have focussed more on conditioning. This camp there was less conditioning, more rounds of sparring and we have started serious weight training.
"With the weight training, both Joe and Uzu have been very happy. They have seen good results, they have seen good increases in strength throughout the training camp.
"What makes them happy, makes me very happy.
"Joe is punching with a lot of purpose at the moment and a lot of power, far more than I have seen him."
Barry employed three tall sparring partners to try to replicate Dimitrenko's reach and height.
Parker felt he had made the necessary adjustments to his attack and defence as the camp evolved and he was now comfortable with confronting taller and bigger opposition.
"I feel like at the end of the camp we are at the right place at the right time," Parker said.
"I could see big improvements and a big difference in how I was approaching these guys, doing the hitting without getting hit. My movement has been getting a lot better, throwing combinations."