KEVIN BARRY TALKS ABOUT TRAINING WORLD CLASS HEAVYWEIGHT JOSEPH PARKER: Kevin Barry is training rising heavyweight prospect Joseph Parker (12-0-0) at a privately owned boxing gym in the suburbs of Las Vegas. I spent the morning with Barry at this facility discussing how Parker is tracking for his next fight with Jason Pettaway, and his future plans for the young heavyweight.
Q; Explain the set-up of this training facility?
This is a privately owned gym facility that I use to train Joseph and another heavyweight Izu Ugonoh .It’s great having a facility where it’s only Joe and I. He’s also living with me and has become every bit a part of my family.
“I’m overseeing everything he does 24/7. When people look at what I’ve done with Joseph Parker in the last two years this is a big part of it, having a facility where it’s only him and I, I am able to accelerate his learning process. I am able to, especially with a young guy, I am able to mentally get inside his head. And I think that has being a major plus for us in the last two years.
Q: Get inside his head?
When I say mentally I mean making him believe in what I am telling him, making him believe that he can do it. You can get the same results in a bigger facility but it’s so much harder. It’s so much easier when it’s only you one on one. Some boxing gyms here in Vegas are like a sideshow, where there’s more people in the gym, watching and hanging out and trying to impose themselves on the fighters, pick up desperate fighters, than there are fighters training. I pick my times that we go to the bigger gyms. We have a great gym in Las Vegas that we go to for sparring in a full size ring. It’s like a second home for us.
What’s important in Joe Parkers evolution as a fighter?
A lot of the things I learned about boxing I learned from my dad (Kevin Barry Senior was a renowned New Zealand Olympic boxing coach), a lot of the fundamentals, my dad was big on the fundamentals, do the little things right and the rest will follow. Even today boxing always comes back to doing the basics well, your foot placement, your hand placement and obviously the jab is still the greatest punch is boxing, that’s what my father taught me. You can see Joe Parkers got a tremendous jab and where only two years in, and my plan is to work with Joe in developing his jab into a thing of beauty…a destructive thing of beauty. A lot of people watch the likes of Floyd Mayweather and his father and his uncles, they watch this flamboyant flashy training style, sure, you cannot argue it definitely works for Floyd Mayweather, his record attests to that, but it doesn’t work for too many other fighters and I’ll say it again, if you get the basic building blocks of boxing right a fighter is in a good place. And has a far greater chance of being successful.
Q: As you spent more time in the American boxing scene how has your coaching skill set developed?
I think the word is ongoing, any fighter who has the skill and is serious about their skill, they are developing it on a day to day basis, they’re learning new things all the time, they’re improving their skills and their knowledge. Same applies to me as a coach, learned from my dad (Kevin Barry was an Olympic Silver medallist), then had the privilege of being able to learn from the great George Benton through my association with Main Events when I was managing David (Tua) and I am continuing to learn. For me Joe wanting to learn on a daily basis and growing with it, is what I love about Joseph Parker, the kid is committed to developing his skill base. You don’t have to harass and push him to get the work done, he knows it has to be done so he does it, and that plus his natural physical gifts and you are talking world class potential, a kid that has the application and physical gifts to fight for a world title and it’s important to mention neither exist without the other, application polishes a fighters physical gifts and Joe certainly knows how to apply himself.