Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker won't let the impending announcement that close friend and stablemate Izu Ugonoh is about to sign with a rival promoter distract him from his world heavyweight title fight a week on Saturday.
An announcement that Ugonoh, a Polish heavyweight beginning to gather a big support base in New Zealand due to his exploits on Parker's undercards, has switched from Duco Events to another promoter is due to be made tomorrow.
Parker and Ugonoh live together in trainer Kevin Barry's Las Vegas house, but rather than fighting at Vector Arena and offering support for Parker ahead of the Kiwi's main event against Andy Ruiz, Ugonoh is in Poland.
Barry, a part manager of Ugonoh's, will continue to train him. Barry said it was time for Ugonoh, a 30-year-old undefeated over 17 professional fights, to follow a different path.
"It would have been a great opportunity for him to fight on the undercard," Parker said, "but I guess he's taking a different path now and as long as he's happy we're all happy."
Parker, who drew a big media contingent in Auckland today ahead of his final open training session, said he was feeling as focused as ever ahead of the biggest fight of his life. He also said he was ready and willing to reveal what trainer Barry described as his inner "primal animal" to what will be a sellout crowd of 10,000 and a worldwide television audience of millions.
"With other camps it takes a few days to get into training and get that sluggish feeling out of you but I've hit the ground running," Parker said. "I feel sharp and focused - I feel this is the most focused I've been before a fight and I've to be because it's a world title."
Barry said of what will flick the switch on fight night: "It's the primal animal inside him. And I say that in all seriousness. That animal will come out when it needs to come out and it will pierce his opponent."
Barry has spoken before of Parker's new brutal "mindset" when fighting or even when sparring.
Parker said: "That will click in on fight day... we practise it. And when it's time to pull it out on fight day we know it's there.
"You'll know it when you see it. It's ferocious.
"I've been working too hard to go in there and play around. He's trying to hurt me so my goal is to hurt him before he hurts me. I want to get him out of there. To have all the support, it gives me extra motivation to do what I have to do - I'll try my best to knock him out.
"It comes down to who wants it more, who's trained harder. for me, I want this so bad. I'm not really worried about what he's doing or what he wants. "He's coming here to my home town, I'm ready. I want to put on a great show and give the fans what they want to see and most importantly focus on the job and that's win the title."
Barry added: "When you're fighting for the championship of the world you're focus and intensity is a little bit higher than at any other time, but we're very calm and very relaxed. Joseph has been sleeping very well. I've been so impressed with what Joseph's been showing me in the gym since we arrived last Friday.
"There's more clarity in his eyes, there's more focus when we're in the ring."
Mexican Ruiz Jr will arrive in Auckland from his California base on Monday morning, with Barry saying he wouldn't allow his fighter to arrive only five days before a fight of this magnitude.
"If I was asked and offered to bring Joe down here five days beforehand, not a chance, it just wouldn't happen," he said. "We know what works best for us and it's two weeks."