Junior Fa could fight again in New Zealand as soon as next month after last weekend's stunning first-round knockout victory in the United States.
Kiwi heavyweight Fa pounded previously undefeated American Fred Latham into submission after only 67 seconds in Cleveland, Ohio, a technical knockout victory on live television which will put him on the map in the USA and beyond.
Fa told the Herald today that many weeks of hard preparation led to his improved performance.
Negotiations are under way for a fight here next month and his camp will be buoyed the television figures of his victory over Latham - it was the fifth most watched sporting event in New Zealand over the weekend despite little publicity and the fact it screened during the All Whites' World Cup qualification match against Peru in Wellington.
Disappointed with his two last performances, Fa changed gyms and enlisted the services of a nutritionist for the first time. That advice and a short camp in Florida before travelling to Cleveland honed his weight to 118kg, significantly less than his 126kg at which he fought Hunter Sam in an undisputed decision victory in his previous fight in May.
"On the night of the fight when I started to warm up, man I felt good," the undefeated Fa, who now has a 13-0 record, said. "It just seemed like I had a bit more snap in my punches.
"I took advantage of it and made him feel my power and I could tell he didn't really like it.
"I was like a savage that night. The ref was screaming out 'stop', but I didn't want to stop. That could have been the first time I've had that feeling towards a person. I didn't treat it personal but I knew it was a very, very important fight for me, so I walked into the ring with a real killer mentality."
The delight shown by his American promoter Lou DiBella once the fight was called off was an indication of how important it was in Fa's development. The 28-year-old wants to improve his ranking with the WBO and soon could be in a position to challenge fellow Kiwi Joseph Parker should the WBO world champion remain undefeated.
"It was the first fight that's been televised in the States," Fa said of its significance. "It could lead to a TV contract there - it means more publicity for me and more cash for me and my family. It was a very important fight. I think Lou was very stoked about my fight and also how his fighter fought the weekend before - Deontay Wilder - who finished his show in a similar fashion [a devastating knockout of Bermane Stiverne].
"The past two fights I had before this one gave me a kick up the behind to basically take this more seriously."
Fa has returned to training and will definitely fight in the United States again before February 25 next year. It will be the last of a current three-fight deal to fight there.