Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker has opened up about his potentially career-defining bout against Mexican-American Alexander Flores, after a 2018 that hasn't gone to plan for the former WBO heavyweight champion.
Having lost to both Anthony Joshua in April, and Dillian Whyte in July, 26-year old Parker is facing the prospect of fading into boxing obscurity, with another loss all but likely to be the final nail in his career's coffin.
In an exclusive column for Stuff though, Parker says that he's taken his two back-to-back defeats on the chin, hoping to become better for the experience.
"There's nothing like a loss or two to bring a reality check," he writes.
"It's been a new situation for me and my team and I believe we are well positioned to turn this adversity into a positive fresh start.
"I know I have to improve because the heavyweight division is the strongest it has been for a long time. I'm confident I'm still in the elite mix but my position now puts me just out of the title talk."
Parker also says that he can't afford to let his career slip away now, aware that nothing other than a convincing victory could spell the end of his aspirations to become the unified heavyweight champion of the world.
"This is a crucial time now, it's like a new beginning. But with all the experience I have gained, I believe I'm able to relaunch from a strong position.
"There are still titles to get and it's important that we take the right steps at the right time, fight the right opponents and get the right results. I don't want to fight rubbish opponents, I want fights that will progress me."
"Yeah I lost and I also got knocked down for the first time in my career. But I got back up again against Whyte and nearly got him in the end. I'm ready to go again now."
Parker faces off against Flores at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena next weekend.