To some people, quite a few, in fact, it came as something of a shock and a surprise when former WBO heavyweight champ Joseph Parker parted ways with trainer Kevin Barry. The two men had been together for getting on for ten years and Barry guided Parker to his WBO heavyweight title win over Andy Ruiz (this decision win from December of 2016 still Parker’s biggest and best career win thus far). The two men are said to have split quite amicably, and the main reason given was one of logistics, with Barry, based in Las Vegas, no longer wishing to travel to New Zealand, Parker’s homeland and the place he wishes to stay for longer periods between fights.
Anyway, news has broken that tells us who will become Parker’s new trainer. As per a news story from Stuff in N/Z, Ireland’s Andy Lee will train Parker – this for one fight at least. Apparently, the two men will work the one fight and then make a decision as to whether or not they will remain working together. Lee, a former WBO world middleweight champion, has shown good ability as a trainer, having worked with the likes of Jason Quigley and Paddy Donovan. In addition to this, Lee was in Tyson Fury’s corner for the second fight with Deontay Wilder in February of last year. This could be a good move for Parker. Parker, 28-2(21) didn’t look great in his last fight when he decisioned Junior Fa in what was a big deal for New Zealand boxing, and maybe this lacklustre performance contributed to Parker’s decision to part ways with Barry. Parker very much wanted a KO win over Fa, preferably a quick one, as he made clear in the lead-up to the fight of last month. Instead, he had to make do with a unanimous decision victory.
The word now is 29 year old Parker will next fight British warrior, long-time heavyweight contender, Dereck Chisora. It will be interesting to hear what “War” Chisora makes of his upcoming foe being trained by Lee. Lee, who was himself trained by the late, great Emanuel Steward, and later by Adam Booth, seems to have picked up plenty of knowledge and he may well be able to improve Parker’s overall fighting ability. As per the Stuff article, Parker will leave New Zealand this week, to hook up with Lee in London. Interestingly, Tyson Fury himself is reported to be the man who recommended Lee to Parker.
Fury and Parker have something of a friendship, the two having plenty of mutual respect for one another. So, can Lee train Parker well and can he guide his new charge to a big win over Chisora? If he can, Lee will very likely continue working with Parker.