Joseph Parker has split from long-time trainer Kevin Barry in the wake of his victory over Junior Fa.
Parker secured a unanimous decision victory over former amateur rival Fa in Auckland last Saturday, in what was now his final fight under Barry, whom he has enjoyed a highly successful, near eight-year stint under.
The 29-year-old, who is reportedly in talks with Derek Chisora for a Spring showdown, claimed the WBO Heavyweight title under Barry’s guidance in December 2016 and has paid tribute to his compatriot.
“Without Kevin I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Parker said in a statement on Thursday.
“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 lost his title following two successful defences to Anthony Joshua in a unification clash at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff in March 2018, before losing on points to Dillian Whyte after a frantic battle at the O2 Arena later that year.
The New Zealander has won four on the bounce since and Barry, who is based in Las Vegas training Light Heavyweight contender, Umar Salamov and rising Heavyweight prospect Guido Vianello, amongst others said, whilst their working relationship could no longer continue, with Parker looking to spend more time in his native country, he wishes him all the best in his quest to become a two-time Heavyweight world champion.
“I’m hugely proud to have played a part in New Zealand and Samoa crowning their first heavyweight world champion,” Barry said.
“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.
“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.”
“With Kevin based in Las Vegas and Joseph keen to spend more time in New Zealand – and not to mention the restrictions on travel created by Covid-19 – this was a natural time for one of New Zealand’s most successful sporting partnerships to come to a close,” Parker’s manager David Higgins said.
“I’d personally like to pay tribute to Kevin. He worked tirelessly to make sure Joseph capitalised on his natural talent, and the results have been there for all to see. Kevin’s place in history as New Zealand’s finest boxing trainer is well and truly secure.”