Joseph Parker (30-2) takes on Joe Joyce (14-0) at the AO Arena in Manchester on September 24th, with the WBO Interim world heavyweight championship on the line.
The card titled ‘Nowhere to Run’ is being shown exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office and is promoted by Frank Warren for Queensberry Promotions in association with BOXXER.
Six years ago Parker was crowned WBO champion in a close contest with Andy Ruiz. The New Zealander was hoping for a period of great fulfillment when he was crowned champion, however Parker found himself chasing dreams that weren’t necessarily his own.
Becoming a parent for the first time to his daughter Elizabeth made Parker understand his own discontent at a time when he should have been embracing national hero status in his homeland.
"When I wasn't a father I was doing boxing for myself because I enjoyed it, but mostly for others," explained Parker on the Unibet Lowdown. "I'm not sure how this sounds, but I was doing it more for my dad because it was his dream and I was doing it more for my coach Kevin (Barry), who wanted to have a heavyweight world champion.
"When I achieved it I sort of wasn't the happiest, maybe because it was for them. Now that I have my wife and my kids, in boxing I am a lot more motivated because I want to do it for myself and my immediate family."
If the tale sounds familiar, it is because Parker's great friend and training partner Tyson Fury experienced similar emotions on becoming unified champion and subsequently spiralled into a mire of serious mental health issues that he recovered from in the most remarkable way.
"I think I went through exactly the same thing, but I didn't look at it as mental health at the time. Now I have had more discussions about it, maybe I did go through the same thing, I just didn't realise.
"I was still training and fighting, but wasn't enjoying it. I didn't want to associate with people and didn't want to talk, I was out there doing this and that. I was still fighting but wasn't training properly. I wasn't doing anything right because I didn't want to do it. But I was still doing it and doing it with no purpose.
"Now I have a purpose. Now I am motivated. Now I am driven. I have my wife and my kids at home who I have left and I have missed a lot of special occasions because of this goal that I have."
Parker has set out clear goals for the remaining chapters of his boxing story and, while returning to the heavyweight top table features strongly, he is more about the here and now and taking as much as he can from each single experience.
"I don't write them down but I do have them in my head. I should write them down, that would be a good thing to do. My goal, further out there, is to be heavyweight champion of the world. I think it would be amazing to have a fighter from New Zealand and Samoa be a two-time world champion.
"The goal is to appreciate each fight, appreciate the moment, to live in the moment and be present. If I think about stuff way down there I am not going to enjoy the process. I want to enjoy the training, the food, everything that is involved with the camp.
"I want to enjoy going home and seeing my family after a camp but, for now, I am in camp and I am going to enjoy every single moment of it.
"Now it is about the journey, the destination will take care of itself."