Team Parker happy to be reunited

Trainer Kevin Barry is out of quarantine and coaching boxer Joseph Parker in person again. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Kiwi boxers Joseph Parker and Junior Fa are ramping up preparations as their heavyweight match-up looms closer.

With a date clash with the All Blacks now ruled out – today it was announced the fight had been pushed back a day to Saturday, 12 December.

While 24 hours isn’t much, every day is particularly important for Parker – with longtime trainer Kevin Barry just one week out of quarantine having arrived from America.

Up until a week ago, Parker and Barry had spent eight months apart.

Not the ideal scenario as Parker prepared for a high-stakes clash with countryman and amateur rival Fa.

Barry, though, was adamant that a promise his fighter made him meant they would avoid any need to play catch up.

“He said once you arrive I’ll be ready to hit the ground running and the very first day in the gym we did 12 rounds on the pads, which we’ve never ever done,” Barry said.

“So he was true to his word – he’s in shape.”

In shape – and in sync.

The former WBO world champion said his first session with Barry after the latter’s two weeks quarantine gave them both confidence.

“Like it took one round and we were into the rhythm again so it just shows the chemistry we have and the knowing each other from obviously all the camps that we’ve had together,” Parker said.

But one of Fa’s coaches was not so convinced.

Eugene Bareman – the mastermind behind the success of UFC star Israel Adesanya and other Kiwi UFC fighters – said Parker and Barry’s time apart is absolutely a factor.

“You wanna be with your head coach, the guy who’s job it’s been to impose the strategy and get across the strategy and tactics just as long as you can,” Bareman said.

“So it’s definitely to our advantage that we’ve had all that time to stay with Junior and in my estimation they’re coming in a little late we’ve already started so they’re coming to the party a little late.”

That is not the only advantage Bareman felt they have – with Fa now an established member at Auckland’s City Kickboxing.

“It’s one of the phenomons that I’ve witnessed in my time in the gym is that everybody is uplifted, everybody is doing better coz of that osmosis.

“Junior is one guy that can take massive inspiration from those UFC guys .”

Bareman said Fa had established a close bond with Adesanya – last year’s Halberg Sportsman of the Year.

Fa was even in attendance when Adesanya won the UFC interim middleweight title last April – digging deep to outlast American Kelvin Gastelum in a five-round epic.

“When that fight happened and then after the fight it just kind of reassured all the training that we are doing in the gym definitely works and that we definitely have to fully apply ourselves because those guys are the ones that win at the highest level of their sport so that means we need to do that as well,” Fa said.

Parker said he was well aware Fa had a very smart team behind him.

“The input that they’re gonna bring, you know they’re gonna analyse what I do right and do wrong and I’m not sure what they’re gonna do but this is going to be the best Junior that we’re gonna see,” Parker said.

But Parker was also confident of a statement performance.

And while they may not have had as much time together to prepare as Team Fa – Kevin Barry said his man also had one clear advantage.

“When the bright lights come on we know how Joseph Parker reacts, we know how he performs. This is new ground for Junior and he’ll need all that experience from the team that he has to help him through that.”

Just six weeks remain until those bright lights shine on what has been billed as the biggest all-Kiwi clash in boxing history.

More Stories