His victory over Carlos Takam in May sent Joseph Parker to the upper echelons of the heavyweight division, and in a roundabout way set up his title fight against Andy Ruiz Jr, but the Kiwi has delivered a scathing assessment of his performance that night, saying it was "rubbish".

Parker has already spoken of his injury problems heading into that fight in Manukau which he won by unanimous decision to claim the IBF mandatory challenger position.

He felt the 12-week camp was too long and there were over-training issues which manifested themselves in a back and left elbow injury. He appeared flat during many of the 12 rounds, and although he deserved the decision, it wasn't the statement performance he was looking for.

His most recent victory over Alexander Dimitrenko in October, a third-round TKO, was more representative of where he is at, Parker said. And a key aspect to his build-up for the WBO title fight against Ruiz Jr at Vector Arena is the fact that the Mexican and his camp appear to be basing their assessment of Parker's ability solely on the Takam fight.


Trainer Kevin Barry recently called it a "6.5 out of 10" performance, and Parker added: "I agree with him. When I look back at the fight I wasn't really impressed with my performance. It was good getting the victory because of what it meant to getting the mandatory position. But looking back, and I watched the fight twice, I felt like it was rubbish.

"What do I put that down to? Well me and Kev are still learning in camp and we saw a few things we did wrong in camp. So each camp we are making adjustments that we know will work a lot better. So if they are judging me on that fight, that's good, because I'm a different fighter altogether."

Barry said: "I hope they watch that fight over and over again because you all know what I think of the Takam fight."

The training camp wrinkles have been ironed out. Parker, 24, knows he is suited to a shorter camp, and there have been further positive developments in terms of his employing mental skills guru Ceri Evans, a man credited with helping the All Blacks to their two recent World Cup successes, and a new strength and conditioning trainer at Parker's Las Vegas base.

"I did more weight training for Dimitrenko - we saw the big difference in sparring, everything felt stronger, it felt like the movement was much better, we were able to execute the plan in the Dimitrenko fight," Parker said.

"[We've been] trying different things. The whole body feels stronger. I think with this you are going to see a little step up from the Dimitrenko fight.

"I think [new training] has helped my speed and movement. I put on a little bit of weight, but I believe it was muscle."

Ruiz, a fast and durable 29-year-old, possesses more attacking weapons than the tough Takam, and Parker's new power and movement is likely to be crucial to his success.

"I'll go on record as saying that Andy Ruiz is a much better fighter than Carlos Takam," Barry said. "Andy Ruiz is a much bigger risk and a much more dangerous opponent than Carlos Takam and if the same Joseph Parker turns up that fought Carlos Takam we lose, simple as that."