Parker’s race against time


Joseph Parker has ar­rived at his US train­ing base and lit­er­ally hit the ground run­ning, in a race against time to be ready for his un­ex­pected clash with Dil­lian Whyte.

The speed of the deal to set up the July 29 fight in Lon­don has taken ev­ery­one in box­ing by sur­prise, in­clud­ing Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry.

Pro­mot­ers David Higgins and Ed­die Hearn bro­kered the fight in less than 48 hours, set­ting up a block­buster re­turn to ac­tion for Parker fol­low­ing his April 1 loss to An­thony Joshua.

Barry is thrilled with the out­come, but now has to ad­just his plans for a third time, and has less than seven weeks to get Parker ready for a must-win fight in en­emy ter­ri­tory again.

‘‘What ac­tu­ally hap­pened was a bril­liant piece of busi­ness,’’ Barry said from Las Ve­gas, the ex­cite­ment ob­vi­ous as he dis­cussed an eight-fig­ure pro­mo­tion that will put the win­ner right in the ti­tle mix again.

‘‘It’s a huge op­por­tu­nity for us. To be able to come back and get the chance of redemp­tion this fast is noth­ing short of mirac­u­lous. We could not have hoped for any­thing bet­ter.’’

In the ever-chang­ing cir­cum­stances over the last month, Barry had planned a train­ing camp around a New Zealand fight against gi­ant Rus­sian Alexan­der Usti­nov, then had to switch for a show­down in the US with Amer­i­can Bryant Jen­nings. Now this ir­re­sistible chance means it’s sud­denly a case of find­ing the right spar­ring part­ners to mir­ror the rugged and ag­gres­sive Whyte.

Parker went straight into the gym af­ter ar­riv­ing in Las Ve­gas yes­ter­day.

Barry and Parker had 11 weeks to pre­pare for Joshua, so the short­fall is ob­vi­ous. It means they may even have to con­sider ar­riv­ing later in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal for their ta­per­ing.

Barry said the big plus was that Parker had re­turned to him 10kg lighter than he did for the Joshua camp, al­low­ing a faster flow into box­ing specifics around the fight plan. ‘‘We don’t have any time for in­jury or sick­ness. I need ev­ery day to be a win­ner,’’ Barry said.

It’s un­der­stood Hearn is ask­ing the WBO to have the win­ner de­clared their manda­tory chal­lenger and Barry is keen for Whyte to put up his WBC sil­ver belt, mean­ing the win­ner also stays in line for a ti­tle shot with that or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The pair have nearly iden­ti­cal records, shar­ing the same re­sults against four com­mon fighters, with their only losses com­ing to Joshua.

Phys­i­cally they match up well and, style-wise, it’s a fight that should suit Parker, with Whyte al­ways look­ing to come for­ward.

‘‘These guys will meet each other in the mid­dle zone,’’ Barry pre­dicted, gen­er­ous in his praise for Whyte.

‘‘He is guy who has earned his stripes. He has fought ev­ery­one, he is a pow­er­ful, phys­i­cal guy, a guy that has done the hard yards.

‘‘He brings a very ag­gres­sive game and we re­spect him and his strength is un­der­rated, he is very heavy-handed.

‘‘They mir­ror each other in many ar­eas, but I be­lieve in my own mind that Joe has bet­ter skills.

‘‘Whyte likes to take risks. He wor­ries more about ag­gres­sion than de­fence.

‘‘Guys like that make their own luck. We have to make sure this par­tic­u­lar night that he is un­lucky and Joe beats him to the punch first.’’

Barry said that was the big learn­ing from the loss to Joshua – a need to be busier and to throw more punches.


Dil­lian Whyte, left, and Joseph Parker face off in Lon­don.

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