Unlikely hard man Junior Fa shares his journey to the ring

With just two losses, 27 wins and 21 knockouts, fighting Joseph Parker means there's a very real chance of ending up on the canvas.

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Despite being one of New Zealand’s hardest hitting heavyweights, Fa prides himself on being a gentle giant. Source: Sunday

But for Junior Fa, going toe-to-toe with the best is a once in a lifetime opportunity, even though they have met in the ring before.

The two fighters have followed remarkably similar paths, growing up down the road from each other in South Auckland and belonging to the same church.

However, while Parker has become a household name, Fa is relatively unknown.

The most unlikely hard man, Fa is taking his chance and showing the world who he is. But who is he?

Weighing in at 6 ft 5 and weighing 120 kilos, TVNZ's Sunday found out Junior Fa is probably the biggest softy going around.

“Growing up in South Auckland, there's a stereotype. You know, if you're big and your brown, you've got to be tough,” he said.

“Growing up I never felt the need to prove to anyone that I'm strong, and my parents, they always taught us to be kind and just to like, you know, keep your morals, which are the ones that I grew up with in the church.

“I always get told that I have a soft handshake. I don't feel like I need to like, you know, grab someone's hand firmly for like, anything. That doesn't mean anything to me, I'm just a softy man.”

Fa’s father Uaine Fa Senior was an amateur boxer who built the foundations for his boxing career

However, given Fa’s gentle nature, his father was hesitant to let his son take his boxing to the next level.

“When I was, I think 15, 16, you know, boxing training here started to get a bit more serious for me and then you know, I asked if I can get in, go to a gym. If I could actually start training properly. And then his first response was no," Fa said.

“I was a soft child, wouldn't get into any rough sports. If I played rugby, I'll probably get player of the day because I was the one that got hurt and started crying in the middle of the match you know?” he laughed.

“So I think naturally he just said no, just to protect me you know. He didn't think I had the heart or guts for it.”

Fa and Parker were set to square off next month but an abnormality in a blood test revealed Fa required urgent surgery, postponing their bout until early next year.

Watch Sunday’s full story on Junior Fa in the video above.