Parker announces trainer split, set to face Chisora

Joseph Parker has announced a split from long-time trainer Kevin Barry as he looks ahead to a potential showdown with Dereck Chisora in the UK on May 1.

Parker was underwhelming as he laboured to a points victory over Junior Fa in New Zealand’s biggest heavyweight showdown ever last weekend.

Fa frustrates Parker

While Joseph claimed a unanimous decision at Auckland’s Spark Arena to improve to 28-2, he was frustrated for most of the evening by the superior ringcraft of Fa.

Many expects questioned post-fight whether Parker needed to freshen up his corner after a hugely successful partnership with Barry, and that news duly arrived this week.

Per the New Zealand Herald, Parker said: “Without Kevin I wouldn’t be where I am today. Together we made it to the very top. Kevin was with me every step of the way, guiding my progress inside and outside of the ring.

“So, it is with genuine sadness that I confirm our partnership has come to an end. But the time just feels right. It’s fitting that we closed this chapter of my career with a win in front of a great home crowd in Auckland, and with bigger things just on the horizon.

“I know Kevin will always be in my corner.”

Barry, who is based in Las Vegas, said: “I’m hugely proud to have played a part in New Zealand and Samoa crowning their first heavyweight world champion.

“It has been an amazing journey with Joseph and Team Parker. But all journeys must come to an end, and the time is right for myself and Joseph to go in our own directions.

“I have been in New Zealand for five months now, away from my family and my other fighters. I have three guys fighting for world titles this year and have responsibilities with them and a few new guys.

“It’s not possible for me to stay in New Zealand any longer. For Joe, he has a wife and three young girls in New Zealand, and he wishes to spend more time here.”

Chisora a stiff test

Chisora (32-10) would be a stiff test for Parker and his new-look corner on May 1. He gave Oleksandr Usyk a stern examination last October before finally dropping a decision in London.

Chisora released a video of a Facetime call with Parker this week, with both men ‘agreeing’ to meet later this year.

Parker, who held the WBO world heavyweight title until suffering his first career defeat by Anthony Joshua in 2018, is still ranked #3 by that sanctioning body. And he is pushing hard to get back to that level as he targets a second reign as champion.