Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker has opened up on his decision to split from long-time trainer Kevin Barry as he works through the final week of preparations for his bout with Derek Chisora.
The heavyweight fighter penned a column for NZME ahead of Sunday’s fight where he said his performance in the ring this weekend is the only way he’ll find out if leaving Barry was the right call.
“This is a new chapter but the only way to really find out if it is working - if I have improved or gone backwards - will be in that ring. It all comes down to fight one,” he wrote.
Parker said he has seen a difference already though under new trainer Andy Lee, believing it to be the best decision he could have made at this stage in his boxing career.
He still has plenty of respect for Barry though – which in a way, was the problem.
“I was with Kevin Barry for a long time and he gave it absolutely everything, did everything for me. I will always be grateful for that,” he said.
“It was more than just a boxer-fighter relationship. I was like a son to him. I hear from his wife now and then, keep in touch with Kevin and his son, and they all wish me the best.
“We ended it the right way by sitting down and talking about it, understanding and supporting each other.
“But the fact is I had probably got too comfortable in that situation, which was also a reason why I didn't make this move earlier. But I had become stale.”
Parker was meant to fight Chisora back in 2019 but the bout was cancelled after the former WBO world champion suffered a spider bite and three-week illness in the build-up to the event.
Since then, Chisora has been relentless in mocking Parker, calling him a chicken among other things in a bid to get the two in the ring.
His latest shot came last week, when he told 1 NEWS Parker will need more than just training tips from friend and world champion Tyson Fury ahead of Sunday’s fight.
"What Joe needs to do is go to Tyson Fury and go 'hey Tyson Fury can I borrow your heart for this fight,'" Chisora told 1 NEWS.
"He [Parker] hasn't got a heart."
Chisora pointed to Parker's dour victory over Junior Fa earlier this year as evidence he did not have the same determination as the two-time heavyweight champion Fury.
"We thought it was going to be one of the best fights ever in New Zealand, but it ended up being a stinker," Chisora said of Parker's fight against Fa.
"Both fighters have unbelievable records but nothing exciting happened in that fight.
"So he needs to go to Fury and say can I borrow your heart when I fight Derek Chisora."