As the days have passed, we have seen the prospect of WBA, IBF and IBO Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua fighting WBO kingpin, Joseph Parker, gather pace. Some back and forth between the pair on Twitter have been accompanied by various media outlets releasing negotiation details and purse requirements. In an attempt to get to the bottom of the demands and the dramas, I spoke to the Head Trainer of Joseph Parker, Kevin Barry. In an exclusive interview for FightTalk.net, I asked Kevin, what he could tell me about how close Team Parker are to agreeing a fight with Anthony Joshua.
“There is a lot of banter going around on social media. All of the things that have been mentioned [on Twitter], there is a little bit of factual information to that. But, the bottom line is this… Our negotiations for Joseph Parker to fight Anthony Joshua are driven at our end by Joseph Parker. Listen, Joe wants the fight! He feels very, very strongly that this is the right time to get in the ring with Anthony Joshua, as do I.”
“As you remember, two years ago we were very close to making the Joshua fight happen; before Joshua had his world title and before Joe had his WBO world title. The two of them were a collision course, you and I had this conversation, imagine how great it would be if this fight were to happen down the track. Both fighters staying undefeated and want to unify against each other. Well mate, that time is now! The time is now and we want that fight now! I believe Sky TV want the fight, Eddie Hearn tells us he wants the fight. I do know Duco, David Higgins, Joseph Parker and myself want the fight. So lets stop mucking around and lets just make the fight happen!”
Parker had been quoted in Boxing Scene saying he could knock Anthony Joshua out if given the chance. When I asked Kevin if he shared Joseph’s sentiment, he told me:
“Anthony Joshua is a terrific fighter, anybody who wins an Olympic gold medal is to be respected and admired. What he has done for the Heavyweight boxing has made the division worth so much more and we applaud what he and Eddie Hearn have done. But there are a lot of things about Anthony Joshua that we all thought stacked up well for Joseph Parker. I believe Joseph is a faster puncher than Anthony Joshua. Joshua is very robotic. He’s slow from the outside. You know, his punches are predictable. He has suspect stamina and very predictable lead patterns.
”The biggest chink in his armour out of everything is… I believe he has a suspect chin! You look at the names and the people he has fought it’s no wonder that chin hasn’t been exposed a lot more. Look mate, we know he was knocked out in the amateurs, we know he’s been knocked out in the gym sparring, we know an old 40-year-old Klitschko had him down. I can promise you this, when Joseph Parker has Anthony Joshua hurt and down in the fight, the would be over! We would never let him recover!”
WBC champion Deontay Wilder and The Gypsy King, Tyson Fury are also in the hunt for a career high payday’s against Joshua and it was clear that Kevin Barry didn’t want to miss out on the same opportunity. But when would a proposed Heavyweight unification fight take place?
“April or May, any sort of time around that period works perfectly for us. I’m in New Zealand with Joe at the moment, we had a fight with Kyotaro Fujimoto in Japan that was scheduled for December 16th, we were rushing around a bit too quickly to get a broadcasting deal done in Japan and we just though it was time take some patience with the Joseph Parker business. We have had very busy years, the last 3 years fighting 5 times a year. This year wasn’t the ideal year for us having only two fights, but we got our mandatory out of the way, which was an ugly, ugly fight! But we can now have a couple of voluntaries before another one at the end of 2018. We feel as a team we are in a very good position with some very good options. But when Eddie Hearn made it aware that they would like a fight with Joseph Parker, we said yes please. It’s a fight we like, it’s a fight we wanted for a long time and it’s a fight the fans want to see.
Having already determined when Team Parker were looking at a fight with Joshua, I proceeded to ask if they had planned a fight between now and a potential fight with Anthony Joshua. Barry told me:
“No, we won’t mate. Joe and I are in camp at the moment, I have just brought in a new strength and conditioning coach from New Zealand who will be flying back to states with us. As I mentioned, we are in a very good position, with a lot of options, no need for panicking.”
Kevin Barry spoke for the rest of Team Parker as we discussed Anthony Joshua’s recent defence against the brave and durable, Carlos Takam. It was made clear trainer Kevin Barry saw more indications of a victory over Anthony Joshua, when comparing Joseph Parker’s victory over Takam in 2016.
“I thought Carlos Takam did a terrific job. I actually thought Carlos Takam brought a lot of perspective back to Anthony Joshua’s performance’s. When you get a guy, who at twelve days notice and has had no sparring, goes ten rounds and gets a home promotional friendly stoppage (against him), you have to take that all into account. As I have already said, Antony Joshua’s stock didn’t rise in our opinion. Let’s remember when Joseph Parker fought Carlos Takam, he had three and a half months notice. He was well prepared to fight Joe in New Zealand, not twelve days notice with no sparring. Funny story mate; I was sitting in the dressing room with Joe when we fought Takam and Joshua sent a tweet to Joe saying he would of ‘knocked that guy out in a round or two.’ But he had his opportunity, he couldn’t do it ten, with Takam only having ten days notice.”
From what I had already heard, Barry was starting make it sound like Joseph Parker was hell bent on demolishing Anthony Joshua. As I probed for more information regarding getting this fight over line, it was clear Parker and his team expect to paid handsomely.
“Myself, David Higgins and Joseph all want to make this fight happen, but there has to be respect. Eddie has to show respect to Joseph. When Charles Martin went to England to defend his IBF title they paid him 5 million dollars and he hadn’t fought anybody. Joseph Parker is The WBO Heavyweight Champion o.f the World and commands a hell of a lot more respect in negotiations. Joe is undefeated and has come up against much stiffer opposition than Martin had at that point. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom just have to show some respect and we all believe the fight can be made. We seriously want to make this fight, Joseph Parker Knocks Anthony Joshua out! We will wear his Belts!”
By Adam Noble-Forcey