By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
JOSEPH PARKER wasn’t exactly jumping for joy after his defeat to Anthony Joshua.
But a trampoline and some family time soon put the spring back in his step.
Now the Kiwi is looking to bounce back against Dillian Whyte at the O2 on Saturday with a rematch against Joshua - the only man to beat him - also in his sights.
It’s just four months since he suffered his first career defeat, losing his WBO heavyweight title to Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in front of 80,000 fans.
“There is no point coming off a defeat and dwelling on it,” said Parker. “You have to get straight back on the horse again.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
“It’s not nice losing, it’s not nice losing your belt and I want to be unified champion of the world.
“But saying that when you know you prepared well, then you just have to accept you lost to the better man on the day.
“The real mark of what you are is how far you can come back from a defeat. How fast you can climb back to the top.”
The New Zealander recovered by spending time with his partner, Laine Tavita, and their daughter Elizabeth back home in Auckland where he had promised to build a playground when he got back, including a huge trampoline.
“As soon as I got back I got it put together,” he said. “I said it was for my daughter, but really it was for me.
“I put in a playground, I’ve still some work to do on that. There was joy and laughter with my family at home, that put the defeat into perspective.”
But while he savoured time at home, there was no chance of the 26-year-old putting his feet up and just enjoying the £6m pay packet he received for his clash against Joshua.
At the start of June he was offered a fight with Whyte, another Joshua victim, and within three days the deal was struck for a return to the UK.
“The hunger is there, not only for myself but my team,” said Parker.
“For us, we are still young, we are still hungry. I don’t want to be known as a former champion, I want to be a champion again.”
But when accepting the Whyte fight, Parker already knew he would be in Las Vegas with his coach Kevin Barry in training camp when his second daughter, Shiloh, was born.
“I wasn’t there for the birth, I haven’t met her yet,” he said.
“I’m away from these big moments, the special moments but it all pays off because I’m building a future for myself and my kids.
“When I’m away I look at their pictures, it inspires me. It pushes me through the hard days, the pain of training, it makes me want to be a success not just for me but for them now.”
When he was outpointed by Joshua in their March clash there was little appetite for an immediate rematch.
But a spectacular win over Whyte could change that and Parker knows there is an April date booked at Wembley for Joshua should he make a successful defence against Alexander Povetkin in September.
“It’s not too early to talk about a rematch with Joshua,” he said. “Firstly you have to focus on what is in front of you. That is Dillian Whyte
“But to have a rematch with Joshua would be great and I’m sure it will be something the fans will want if they see me perform well against Whyte.
“I’m excited to show everyone the improvements, and to show there is a lot more to me than what we showed in our last fight.
“I have to put all my focus on Whyte. I want to put on a dominant performance to show we belong at the top and that we are not here to muck around.”