Parker trainer Barry talks weight, need for speed, officials, Fury performance and Joshua’s chin

Joseph Parker Kevin Barry

Lawrence Lustig

Kevin Barry has addressed several topics in the build-up to what will be the bigget fight the trainer and former boxer has ever been involved in.

The New Zealander will, as ever, be cornering for Joseph Parker as the heavyweight champion bid to unify against Anthony Joshua in Cardiff.

Speaking about the magnitude of the contest, Barry was under no illusions as to the strength of Parker’s forthcoming opponent.

“As we know, there’s no secret about it, this is the biggest test that Joe’s had in front of him. But I also believe that this is the biggest test that Anthony Joshua’s had in front of him,” said Barry.

“We are expecting a much better Anthony Joshua than the one that fought Klitschko. I think there’s a lot of improvement in him just as there’s a lot of improvement in Joe. We’re anticipating that the styles of both these guys are going to make for a real fan-friendly fight and a very exciting fight.”

On the possibility of slimming down for Friday’s weigh-in, Barry added: “Joe’s still a very young heavyweight. We’ve been together for five years and we’re still a long way away from a finished product. Last year, we bumped Joe up quite a bit. We put a bunch of muscle on him. We put an extra 10 pounds of weight on him and it actually doesn’t really work out for us.

“So we sat down, Joe and I, and we said that we felt he was a busier fighter, a more mobile fighter, his feet and hands were faster, when he was lighter. So for a fight like this against a big, strong, powerful guy like Joshua it was important that we went back to a mobile, lighter fighter.

“Speed is the key. We’ve always believed that Joe’s the fastest heavyweight in the world. I also believe that out of all the heavyweight champions, I think Joe has the better skill.

“I think he does things better than Joshua does. I think he’s more complete than Joshua. Is he as big as Joshua? No. Is his reach as long as Joshua’s? No. Joshua’s got a 100 percent knockout record but I believe Joseph Parker is a better-skilled fighter than Antony Joshua and I think when we put the movement, the hand speed and the skill together, it’s going to be a very good combination and a successful combination on March 31.”

Asked about Joshua’s facial frailities, Barry was quick to defend the Briton after recent wobbles against Dillian Whyte and being put down by Wladimir Klitschko.

“I think he has a pretty good chin. I know that we used the glass door as part of our marketing strategy in putting this fight together, but we believe as a team that Joshua has a good chin.

“He’s fought some big guys. He’s been hit on the chin before. Sure, he got dropped against Klitschko and there were stories of him getting dropped multiple times in the amateurs and that he was dropped in the gym in sparring, but all in all he’s a big, strong, powerful guy and I think his chin is not too bad.”

The officials for this weekend’s bout have been confirmed as Steve Weisfeld, Steve Gray and Ian Scott, all of which come with Barry’s approval.

”It was very important for us when we were formulating this contract that we had independent, neutral officials. We have three judges – one from the United States, one from the UK and one from New Zealand.

“And we have an Italian referee so we’re very happy with the names that have been put forward that there will be no disputing the decision. We believe that we have fair, very experienced officials who will do a good job come Saturday the 31st.”

Parker and Joshua were both criticised for their recent victories despite keeping those undefeated runs intact, although Barry isn’t too worried as those bouts are now firmly behind them.

“I think the same will go for both camps. If they’re looking at the Fury fight, we know that Joseph is a much better fighter than that. Fury was a very awkward opponent, an opponent that we wouldn’t have even been in the ring with if it wasn’t for a mandatory.

“Looking at Joshua’s last fight with Carlos Takam, he really didn’t light the world on fire in that fight and he left a lot of question marks about his performance.

“We’re expecting a much better Joshua than the one that fought Carlos Takam. So the same can be said both ways,” he added.