Si­lenc­ing the doubters

Sunday Star-Times - - SPORT - Dun­can John­stone dun­can.john­stone@stuff.co.nz

Joseph Parker and Kevin Barry are out to prove their doubters wrong.

Two con­sec­u­tive losses to take his record to 24-2, a long 15 months since his last win, and with a knock­out vic­tory a dis­tant mem­ory from Oc­to­ber, 2016 . . . it’s not hard to see why there are ques­tions be­ing raised about the Kiwi heavy­weight boxer’s abil­ity to stay in the mix of an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive divi­sion.

But coach Barry brushes that aside like he does a Parker jab in train­ing.

‘‘It’s funny out there at the mo­ment, there are peo­ple doubt­ing Joe and doubt­ing me,’’ he says dur­ing a break in train­ing in their lat­est Las Ve­gas camp where Parker is pre­par­ing for his come­back fight against Alexan­der Flores in Christchurch on December 15.

‘‘We know the doubters are out there say­ing we can’t make it back to the top. For us, that just adds ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion and edge to our prepa­ra­tions.

‘‘You have to re­mem­ber that many peo­ple said Joe couldn’t win a world ti­tle fight­ing out of New Zealand and we proved them wrong.

‘‘Many peo­ple said that we couldn’t land a fight with Anthony Joshua on the terms that we got, and we proved them wrong.

‘‘Now many peo­ple are say­ing that Joe will never fight for a world ti­tle again and we re­ally look for­ward to prov­ing them wrong this time as well.’’

Barry has heard the crit­i­cism of his work and the calls for a change in train­ers.

He wasn’t aware of the ac­tual de­tails of for­mer world cham­pion Len­nox Lewis’ ad­vice for Parker to sharpen up his de­fen­sive game and add some­thing more to an at­tack the leg­endary Brit felt was lim­ited to an in­creas­ingly tele­graphed right hand.

But Barry says he’s not afraid of ad­vice.

‘‘I spend many hours study­ing my sport. The learn­ing is never com­plete and I have al­ways be­lieved you can learn from ev­ery­one,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m the sort of trainer that if Joe can get some ad­vice or some guid­ance from a great champ like Len­nox, I’d wel­come it. He’s a very ex­pe­ri­enced ex-fighter.’’

Barry said they were con­stantly look­ing for changes and im­prove­ments.

‘‘We work very hard with our game plans and there’s a lot of thought and re­search and train­ing that goes into them.’’

The goal of the cur­rent camp was to im­prove Parker’s strength and power, ded­i­cat­ing three ses­sions a week to this in the hope of re­dis­cov­er­ing his knock­out abil­ity.

PHOTOSPORT

Joseph Parker is de­ter­mined to prove his doubters wrong.

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