ALTHOUGH Joseph Parker took a risk agreeing to the Dillian Whyte heavyweight clash this Saturday (July 28) at the O2 Arena in London, his team are adamant that it is Whyte who has made the miscalculation.

Kevin Barry, Parker’s trainer, reveals they were made the offer only just in time to agree to it. “Right at the beginning I said to David Higgins, ‘Mate I need another three weeks,’” he told Boxing News. “I think they were a little clever at the time, pulling us in with seven weeks’ notice and one of those weeks was flying halfway round the world, 24 hours of flying in four days. New Zealand to London one day, London then back to Vegas. The first week of that seven week camp, he was a zombie the whole week. But the last four weeks have been as good as any four-week block of training that we’ve done in five and a half years. I’m sure Joe will back that up. I said to Joe the only way we’re going to make this work is we have to make every day count, every day has to be a winner. We could not afford any sickness, we could not afford any injury because we were against time. Touch wood, everything’s worked well.”

But still Barry insists, “We’ve got a lot to lose but I think Dillian Whyte has more to lose at the moment. He was sitting in a very good position. If somebody had said after the Joshua fight we were to get to fight Dillian Whyte I would have said not a chance, not even 1%. [He thought] they weren’t going to take a gamble fighting Parker and yet here we are.”

Parker lost his world title last time out to unified heavyweight boss Anthony Joshua. But his trainer is adamant that that contest has changed him. “I’ve more or less seen him grow up in one fight to a different level,” Kevin said. “To help him develop and watch him evolve into the fighter he is today, it’s been something that’s been very special to us.”

Barry has to admit that, against Joshua, Parker’s “offence was dormant”. He continued, “We need to wake that up and a style like Dillian Whyte’s is going to help wake that up. We’re going to have to throw a lot of punches and break this guy down and that’s what we’ve trained to do.

“Both guys have millions of dollars to gain and both guys have a lot to lose. Which will produce, you would think, the best of both guys. Where both guys are really fighting for something. It means something.”

Dillian Whyte vs Joseph Parker

Parker of course wants a rematch with Joshua, with a different referee. Guiseppe Quartarone was the third man in Cardiff and was notoriously over-eager to break up the action. “The referee in the Joshua fight seems to be an ongoing saga, I’ve been talking about it for the last three months,” Barry reflected. He reckons the refereeing inconvenienced Joshua as well as Parker. “He [Joshua] fancies an uppercut there [on the inside]. I know he threw a couple of late uppercuts after the referee said stop but once again the guy was out of his depth, he had no control. Should never have been in the ring for a fight of that magnitude. The first unification fight in eight years,” the trainer said.

Victory for either Parker or Whyte could lead them back to Joshua. “I knew they would never make the [Deontay] Wilder fight this year. And it would not surprise me if they don’t make it in April,” Kevin Barry said. “We want another crack at this guy, with a proper referee.”