By Ryan Burton
BoxingScene.com caught up with Kevin Barry, trainer of WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-0) during a recent training session in Henderson, Nevada. The duo are currently in the beginning stages of their camp for their March 31st showdown against WBA/IBF/IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (20-0) in Cardiff.
The fight has been talked about for many years but really began to pick up steam last year. The fight was first discussed in 2015 before either man was champion and again when Parker was the IBF mandatory challenger to Joshua in 2016. He opted however to face Andy Ruiz for the then vacant WBO title instead.
That decision turned out to be the best for all parties involved. The fight is much more lucrative now with Joshua reportedly set to earn close to $20 million dollars and Parker $9.6 million.
"We knew this fight was going to happen. This fight has actually been happening the past three years. Both guys have been on a parallel course to fight each other. We knew that provided Joe stays undefeated and Anthony Joshua stays undefeated that the fight would happen," said Barry.
"This was the perfect time to make this fight. We knew that Sky UK was very keen on putting Anthony Joshua in the biggest fight possible and that was Joseph Parker - another young and undefeated world champion. This is the first ever in the UK that they have had two undefeated heavyweight champions fighting each other and the first time in nearly eight years that the heavyweight division has had a unification fight so this fight is big. This fight is very important to heavyweight boxing and to boxing in general."
When Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn called for a Parker fight shortly after AJ's victory over Carlos Takam in October, Parker's team was in negotiations for a fight that would have generated a lot of interest in Parker's homeland of New Zealand and in Australia.
But when Parker was told that a Joshua fight could come to fruition, he told his team to put all of their efforts into the unification bout.
"It was Eddie Hearn who said in the media that we want Joseph Parker and we were deep into negotiations to fight Lucas Browne. We were a long way into them and then when Eddie said that they want to fight Joseph Parker - Joe immediately got his team together and said, 'hey if they want to fight me let's make the fight,' so it was Joe who drove the fight. He is the one who immediately said to make it happen. We believe this is the perfect time to make the fight. As I mentioned earlier, we had been looking at this fight for the past three years. We like the style of Anthony Joshua for Joseph Parker and I think a fighter like Joshua will bring out the very best in Joe," Barry told BoxingScene.com.
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