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.