By Ryan Burton
December 15th is a very important date for Joseph Parker (24-2). The former champion returns to the ring in Christchurch, New Zealand against Alexander Flores (17-1-1).
2018 has been a tough year on Parker. He lost his WBO title in March to WBA/IBF/IBO champion Anthony Joshua and then lost his next fight in July against Dillian Whyte.
Parker's trainer acknowledges that his fighter could have performed well but also believes that his charge will be even better for the experience of having fought in two of the biggest fights of the year.
"The most different thing about this camp is that we are coming off of two losses and we have never been in that position before. In fact we have had to sit down and go over everything. We have been in two of the biggest fights this year - the Anthony Joshua fight in front of 80,000 people in Wales and the Dillian Whyte fight which was also on pay-per-view and we came up short both times - the Joshua fight was a very good fight and he definitely didn't have his way with Joe. Joe is the only one that has been in front of Joshua that he hasn't had his way with," Barry explained.
"The Whyte fight we didn't have any luck in that fight. Joe had a tremendous start. We had a good game plan but a very short training camp with 5 weeks here in Vegas but even with that short training camp we were confident going into that fight. It started off tremendous and then Joe took a head clash to the cerebellum and everything changed. It ended up being a very tough fight. It was a very physical fight where there was great back and forth action and a fight up until the very end Joe was close to knocking Dillian Whyte out. In fact I think if it had gone another 20 seconds I think it would have been his arm that got raised."
Barry didn't want to look too far ahead, knowing that a victory over Flores is necessary before any type of planning can take place. While Flores isn't a well known fighter, Barry respects him and his knockout ratio.
"For the first time in our career we are on a fight by fight basis and all we can do at the moment is focus on our next fight and that is Alexander Flores. He is not Anthony Joshua and he is not Dillian Whyte and he doesn't have the names on his resume that Joseph Parker has on his but he is a guy who is 17-1 with 15 KOs, that is very handed and is the same age and height as Joe and the same weight.," said Barry.
"There is no pressure on Flores in this fight. All the pressure is on Joseph Parker. Joe is fighting for his career in this fight. The urgency and the preparation for this fight is like no other fight we have been in. If we don't get the right result here we have really got a problem."
Barry did say however that they are very interested in fighting again in the UK. After facing Hughie Fury, Joshua and Whyte, the top trainer believes there is a lot of opportunities for his fighter across the pond.
"Obviously Joseph has a huge fan base, especially in the UK. Having our last 3 fights there we have done an enormous amount of media. We have a very big following and Joe is extremely well liked. The last fight even got him a lot more fans because he stood in the trenches and went toe to toe with Dillian Whyte," Barry told BoxingScene.com.
"Look we know that Joseph Parker is one of the elite heavyweight fighters in the world. For us we need to get a W back behind our name. We need to get a good solid performance in New Zealand. It is the right place for us to take a fight that is so crucial and critical for us for the fact that we are back behind our home supporters that really love Joseph Parker. We went all the way to the world title in New Zealand and it is going to take a really good opponent to beat us in New Zealand. We take care of business with Alexander Flores and we will be going hard for a big fight in early 2019."
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