By Jonathan McKeown
Heavyweight boxer Brian Minto says Team Parker must be "scared as hell" after requesting he undergo a test for banned substances.
Results are pending on a blood test Minto took on Monday after Joseph Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, requested that promoters Duco Events test Minto for banned substances ahead of the Hydr8 Zero Heavyweight Explosion boxing fight scheduled for July 5.
Speaking from his base in Las Vegas, Barry said he had been keeping tabs on Minto's progress. He said he was not accusing Minto of anything and that he simply wants confirmation that there is an even playing field heading into this fight at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau.
Barry said he had noticed differences in Minto's physique since he defeated Shane Cameron at the Fight for Life last December.
"For a 39-year-old who hasn't fought in over six months, it is pretty hard to get yourself in that shape, and a lot of guys are looking for an edge to prolong their careers," Barry said.
"As Joe's trainer, I need to be asking the questions. It's my right. As long as Minto is doing it clean, inside the rules of WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency], I have no problems."
Minto, who is ranked 11 in the world by the WBA, shrugged off questions around his integrity.
He then fired back at Barry.
"In the end it's not him fighting me, it is Joseph Parker getting in the ring.
"So Kevin can play all the mind games he wants to. I'm not going to fall for any of his antics.
"They are scared as hell. It is the fear of the unknown, they don't know what they are going to get. They may be training for one thing but something else might be coming at them."
Minto has been in the gym for six months, training twice a day. Since arriving in New Zealand in May, he has been training with Chris Martin of Boxing Alley, who Minto rates as good, if not better, than the many high-profile trainers he worked with in the United States.
Billed as "The Beast" for his confrontational, front-foot fighting style, Minto's abrasive ring tactics may push the boundaries, but he maintained the test results, due out later this week, would show it was a strong work ethic that had him in top shape ahead of the bout.
"People want to make allegations about this and about that, it is just hard work," said Minto.
"I am clean, why wouldn't I be? Ask Kevin Barry if he is clean. Why don't they make Joe take [a blood test] too?"
Dean Lonergan of Duco Events confirmed Parker would undergo a test soon after he returned to New Zealand on Monday.
Barry said he had no concerns at all and welcomed the test for Parker.
"Joseph Parker is a clean athlete. He trains hard. He disciplines himself and lives the life of an elite athlete."
Barry disputed that asking for a test meant that he was worried about his fighter's chances in the upcoming bout - which will see the Minto's WBO Oriental Championship Belt and Parker's WBA-PABA Interim Heavyweight Championship go on the line.
"It's not so much that I am concerned," said Barry. "We just want to make sure it is a level playing field.
"It is the best Joseph Parker I have seen. We have a good game plan and we are itching to get to New Zealand and get Minto into the ring."