5 Mar 2021

Boxer Joseph Parker splits with Kevin Barry, what next?

10:46 am on 5 March 2021

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has split with trainer Kevin Barry.

Trainer Kevin Barry (L) and boxer Joseph Parker


The pair have parted ways by mutual consent.

Both men agreed to the decision after Parker's points victory over Junior Fa in Auckland on Saturday night.

"Without Kevin I wouldn't be where I am today," Parker said.

"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."

Parker's tactics and form were heavily criticised following the less than impressive win.

Many fans on social media had been calling for the pair to part ways for some time, and after the Fa fight, both supporters and pundits further questioned whether Barry could take the former WBO champion and further in his career.

The pair have been together for eight years.

"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," Barry said.

"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.

"I totally understand this and will always be in his corner and support him. We have always had a very close bond and I want nothing but the best for him. We have achieved so much together. It has been one heck of an amazing journey."

In December 2016, Parker became New Zealand's first ever World Heavyweight Champion, defeating Andy Ruiz Junior in Auckland to claim the vacant WBO World Heavyweight Championship.

Parker and Barry managed to secure a unification bout with Briton Anthony Joshua in Cardiff in March 2018.

He would lose that fight and also suffer a defeat to British fighter Dillian Whyte in July the same year, raising questions at the time over his future in the division.

His wins since haven't been of note and he's lacked the knockout finish that fans craved and pundits believed necessary for him to secure bigger fights against the likes of Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder or even a rematch with Whyte.

Fans on social media have largely reacted positively to the news of Parker's and Barry's split, however many have said the decision has come too late to resurrect the New Zealander's career.

Parker could next fight Britain's Derek Chisora, though the bout, expected to be held in London in May, has yet to be confirmed.

New Zealand boxing commentator Mike Angove said the pandemic will be complicating Parker's next move.

"Look it's tricky times it depends on where Joe wants to base himself obviously we're in the midst of covid and he has three daughters here in New Zealand," he said, "There's probably limited teams and coaches that operate at an absolutely world class level. I assume that this is a decision which has been undertaken over a longer period of time so I'm certain he will have spoken to David Higgins and they will have been reviewing names of coaches especially here in New Zealand or potentially overseas."

"One thing is for sure he doesn't want to be taking a short notice fight in the next couple of months when he is just developing and working on a relationship with a new coach.

Boxing commentating duo Mike Angove and Colonel Bob Sheridan.

Boxing commentating duo Mike Angove and Colonel Bob Sheridan. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2016 www.photosport.nz

"I don't think it's wise to take on a short notice fight in two or three months if you've just changed coaching team because there may be new approaches to technical things but also there may be changes in conditioning, there's a relationship that needs to develop and there may be some skill based work that you want to embed.

"I know there's been talk of Derek Chisora in May, personally I think that would be a very quick turnaround although I think it's a very winnable fight for Joe. I think you've got to be cautious in your first fight under a new coaching team.

"I don't think you'll see a stylistic change, what you would potentially see is enhancement of what he's already has and obviously that also depends on how Joe responds to a new environement, a new coach and a slightly new approach."

"There's no question he needs a world class coach or a world class team people who are capable of developing his skills, developing his trust and who understand what it takes to take the next step at the pinnacle of the game.

"I think Kevin Barry should be given due credit for the job he's done with Joe to this point he's taken him from a very raw teenager to a world title, there's not many people that can do that, that can develop an athlete from young and take them right up to World Championship level and sustain that over a number of years," Angove said.