When Kevin Barry saw Joseph Parker for their first training last Friday, he was more than impressed with what he saw.
The trainer and boxer have spent the last eight months apart due to the Covid-19 pandemic with Parker opting to stay in New Zealand this year while Barry returned to his home in the US.
"This eight months apart was new ground for us," Barry told 1 NEWS.
But with a fight against Junior Fa just seven weeks away, Barry has travelled back to New Zealand to get Parker ready and after 14 days of self-isolation, Parker's physique was a welcome sight.
During their time apart, Parker has continued to train in New Zealand with a focus on strength work which Barry said can already be felt in their early training sessions.
"I was very pleased when I did get to see him in the gym last Friday, to see that he was in good shape, that he had been putting in the work and that he did have systems in place.
"His body looks good, I felt he was very strong on the pads - in the three sessions that we've done to date, we've done over 30 rounds of padwork - so we're trying to get up to speed fast."
In fact, Barry believes the former WBO heavyweight champion needs to lose just two kilograms between now and the December 11 fight at Spark Arena in Auckland.
"To be honest, [Parker's] probably taken that off in those first three sessions," Barry said.
"He's on his fight weight now seven weeks out."
As such, Parker said the pair are able to instead focus for the most part on the gameplan for the December bout.
"It's just about working on the combinations and the specific punches that Kevin thinks will work once we start the sparring phase," Parker said.
Barry added another focus of theirs was to ensure Parker remained healthy in these final seven weeks.
"If we stay healthy and injury-free, we're going to see a very explosive, a very determined, a very purposeful Joseph Parker on December 11," Barry said.
"A very world class Joseph Parker."
As amateurs, Fa and Parker split two wins each when they faced off in the ring with Fa taking the first and last of the four encounters.
Since both have turned professional though, their paths have been remarkably different with Parker going on to claim and then eventually lose the WBO world heavyweight title while Fa has gone undefeated but also dealt with health issues.
Parker was last in the ring in February when he claimed a TKO victory over American Shawndell Winters in the fifth round; a win that moved him to 27-2 in his professional career.
Fa - the WBO oriental interim heavyweight title holder for the last two years - hasn’t fought since last November when he took down Devin Vargas with a unanimous decision after 10 rounds, taking his record to 19-0.
Parker is currently ranked third in the WBO's heavyweight rankings while Fa sits three places back in sixth.