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New Parker foe 'stronger' than Fury: Barry

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/04/2017 Angelo Risso

The trainer of Kiwi boxing world champion Joseph Parker has thrown a haymaker of his own at Briton Hughie Fury, saying any fight between the pair would've been "horrible" for the Auckland public.

Parker's first challenger for the WBO heavyweight crown was confirmed on Wednesday as Romanian giant Razvan Cojanu, replacing the injured Fury.

The mandatory WBO challenger to Parker, Fury pulled out of their scheduled May 6 tussle in Auckland this week with an alleged back complaint.

Cojanu, ranked No.14 by the WBO and a frequent sparring partner for Parker at his Las Vegas base, has stepped into the breach at short notice and will challenge the south Aucklander with his lanky 202cm frame and strong left hook.

The California-based brawler has won 16 of 18 professional fights and comes with an established amateur pedigree, but differs in most ways from the awkward Fury.

Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, said that wasn't necessarily a good thing for his fighter, who has already been in camp for 12 weeks.

That time in Vegas included almost 50 rounds of sparring with Cojanu, who attempted to imitate Fury's cumbersome style for Parker's training.

"The last gentleman (Fury) wouldn't have been able to hurt Joseph at all," Barry told reporters.

"He would've run around the ring for 12 rounds and it would've been a horrible fight.

"This is going to be an exciting fight - a big, strong and powerful guy.

"Our previous opponent was not."

Despite Barry's remarks, the 30-year-old Cojanu is yet to take a major scalp in the world of heavyweight boxing and may not fight for another world title.

His most recent fight was a knockout win over China's Zhi Yu Wu in December, where he earned the vacant WBO China Zone title.

Parker, five years Cojanu's junior, admitted his opponent was something of an unknown quantity, despite their time spent together in the gym.

But he was glad to retain home advantage, and will feel especially accommodated after the fight was moved from Auckland to the southern suburb of Manukau.

"Now I'm starting to wonder what he really fights like," Parker said.

"The way I see this fight, it's actually more dangerous than the Fury fight - he's got power but also he knows how I fight, my styles and techniques."

Speaking briefly, Cojanu told reporters he would've been foolish to turn down any chance at a world title, despite the short notice.

He hoped to prove New Zealand and the world wrong by exploiting his intimacy with the Parker camp to knock his much-fancied opponent out.

"A lot of fighters train for this chance all their lives and don't get it," Cojanu said.

"In the camp, I did 50, 60, 70 per cent maximum.

"In the fight, I'm going to go 100 per cent."

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