Exclusive: Joseph Parker discusses Vegas camp, Hughie Fury challenge

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WBO heavyweight title holder Joseph Parker is adamant coach Kevin Barry has come up with the perfect game plan to foil mandatory opponent Hughie Fury on May 6.

New Zealander Parker, who won the title by defeating Andy Ruiz Jr. on home soil in December, heads back to Auckland next month for what will be the first defense of his coveted title.

Trainer Barry pointed out the awkwardness of Fury in a recent interview with WBN and Parker is sure his efforts during a Las Vegas portion of his camp will lead to a successful evening at the Vector Arena.

“Everything is going good. We are here for our final few days and are just getting some work done,” Parker exclusively told World Boxing News from his Vegas base.

“We’ve had really good sparring and we are happy with the sparring partners we have had. We’ve got a lot of rounds under our belt.”

On combating one of the most avoided styles in the top division, Parker added: “I’ve let it to Kevin Barry to come up with a plan. We’ve been working on different areas of Hughie that we have found a bit weak. Also what we think are his strengths and trying to counter that.

“Obviously, it’s not the ideal style and Hughie is a talented fighter who uses the ring really well, the distance quite good, so we’ve come up with a plan that we believe will counter that and we believe that will be enough.”

Fury, 22, has been out of action for a year due to a skin condition that brings on fatigue, although Parker doesn’t expect this to play a significant part despite the 27 year-old being one of the most active heavyweights on the planet.

“He might get a bit of ring rust, but with his father Peter Fury I’m sure he gets given really good sparring, so I don’t think being out of the ring will give him any problems.

“I’m hoping to put on a great show and give it my best. Whatever the outcome, as long as I’ve given it my best. I want to defend my title and keep this title in New Zealand. That’s my goal and then hopefully if successful we can unify at some point in the future.

“At the moment, I’m just focused on Fury and what he’s going to bring. I’m just trying to win this fight.

“It feels good to be champion. I’ve ticked off this goal of becoming a world champion. I’ve made myself and my parents happy, so it’s been great to get the support from Samoa and New Zealand. There were some good celebrations in December and it just feels good. Being champion gives me that extra drive and motivation to train even harder.

“I have to put in more work and stay focused on what I have to do,” pointed out Parker before giving his fans, plus those in the Fury’s home of the UK, a message of thanks.

“I know I get a lot of messages from the UK so I want to say thanks to them for their great support. I’m still doing my thing, still trying my best and I look forward to the day when I come to the UK and out on a great show.

“To all my fans, I just want to say I’ll do my best to put on a great show and be in the best shape to do so. Thanks for the support and I hope everyone enjoys themselves on May 6.”

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay