By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker appreciated Tyson Fury’s offer to help him prepare for the biggest fight of his career.
The former heavyweight champion was willing to spar with Parker to get him ready for his heavyweight title unification fight against Anthony Joshua, but the timing wasn’t quite right. Kevin Barry, Parker’s trainer, told Sky Sports News on Tuesday that Fury wanted to spar with Parker once Parker arrives in the United Kingdom for their March 31 showdown in Cardiff, Wales (Sky Sports Box Office; Showtime).
Parker plans to travel from Las Vegas, where he lives and trains, to the United Kingdom two weeks before he is scheduled to battle Joshua at Principality Stadium.
“Tyson put his hand up to help us in the last two weeks once we arrived,” Barry said. “Really, two weeks out, we don’t need to be getting in there with a 6-feet, 9-inch Tyson Fury! Tyson’s a great friend of our team and we appreciate all the support he gives us, but that just doesn’t work out for us.”
Fury befriended New Zealand’s Parker when the WBO champion came to Manchester, England, last year to defend his title against Hughie Fury, Tyson’s cousin. Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) defeated Hughie Fury (20-1, 10 KOs) by majority decision in their 12-rounder September 23.
The 6-feet-4, 240-pound Parker previously told Radio Live during an interview that Tyson Fury isn’t the right type of sparring partner to get him ready for the 6-feet-6, 250-pound Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs).
“Tyson Fury’s a great guy,” Parker said, “but with all due respect to him, I don’t think it’s the right person to spar because he moves around well for a big guy and he doesn’t come forward. And he’s a lot taller. So I think Kev and our team have done some research and we found guys that we think [don’t] have everything Joshua has, but each of them have bits that we can see or help us prepare for what he brings.
“We want guys to come forward and we can just smash them, and for them to throw everything at us – the kitchen sink – and just try and knock us out. But with Fury, as the fighter he is, he’s a smart fighter who doesn’t stand there, who doesn’t absorb a lot of punches and likes to move.”
Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) is training for his comeback on an undetermined date. He hasn’t fought since he upset Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision to win the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles in November 2015.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.