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Joseph Parker laughs with his good friend Tyson Fury.
Alpha male syndrome means Joseph Parker and Tyson Fury have not been in full training as the Kiwi heavyweight prepares to fight Joe Joyce in Manchester this weekend.
Parker is the envy of the Division for his close friendship with Fury, which extends to him using the WBC champion’s gym in Morecambe, northern England.
Fury’s presence is a huge bonus for Parker as he attempts to inflict his first professional defeat on Joyce and take a major step towards regaining the WBO title, with the organization giving the fight “intermediate status” (Sunday morning NZT) .
BT SPORTS BOXING
Heavyweight rivals Joseph Parker and Joe Joyce exchange insults before their showdown in Manchester.
Parker has always been coy about his close relationship with Fury and that has continued, despite disclosing some of their dealings.
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Parker told Queensbury Promotions that while they did some body sparing, they never put the gloves on each other in practice.
“We’ve been doing a lot of body sparing and training alongside each other,” Parker said of Fury keeping fit while waiting to see if a British superfight with Anthony Joshua can be arranged.
“Tyson gives me some advice but he leaves me with Andy (Lee, Parker’s trainer).
“We didn’t do full sparring. Sparring isn’t easy, when you have two fighters who think they’re alpha, it’s a big fight. Sometimes sparring is as tough as the fight… it’s all about the rounds you make.”
Lee backed up this alpha male theory by stating, “I don’t let them exercise. In such an environment it is too difficult for me. It’s not going to end well if someone lands a punch, so I keep them apart.”
But Lee said there were so many positives for Parker to be in the regular presence of Fury as they complete their third camp at Morecambe after back-to-back wins over Dereck Chisora last year.
“It’s good to have Tyson with us for his enthusiasm, wisdom and encouragement,” Lee said.
Parker agreed, “The more you hang out with someone, the more it rubs off on you. We don’t really have extensive discussions, but Tyson mentions a few ideas he has. He respects Andy being in charge but Tyson isn’t afraid to lend his advice and help when he sees a need.”
Parker also had his younger brother John with him for the final stages of this camp and that adds to his comfort given their close relationship.
With his close team environment, his usual talks with a sports psychologist, and regular spiritual work, Parker believes he has a good balance for this fight. He concedes that he needs to be at the top of his game to beat Joyce, who has a physical advantage to underpin his relentless style.
“I love challenges, I accept challenges, challenges bring out the best in me,” Parker told Queesnbury Promotions.
“It’s a challenge a lot of fighters didn’t want to take on, he’s a big lump who keeps coming forward.
“But I feel revitalized as a fighter, there is more drive. I want to see a big jump from the second Chisora fight. We want to see a big leap in improvement, in style, combinations, fitness, ring work…everything.
“It could be an easy fight, it’s up to me and how I approach the fight. I’m not taking anything away from Joe Joyce, he’s a tough fight but if I can do what I can do, what Andy knows I can do, what Tyson knows I can, I can make it easier for us and for me. “