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Parker to change approach for awkward Fury

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/03/2017 Angelo Risso

Parker, born and raised in south Auckland, currently bases himself in Las Vegas with Barry and Polish stablemate Izu Ugonoh. © Getty Images Parker, born and raised in south Auckland, currently bases himself in Las Vegas with Barry and Polish stablemate Izu Ugonoh. Kiwi heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker will mix up his in-fight tactics in an attempt to defend his WBO title against Hughie Fury.

The 22-year-old Fury, cousin of disgraced former champion Tyson, was confirmed as Parker's first title challenger on Wednesday.

The May 6 bout will be held at Auckland's Vector Arena, the scene of Parker's triumph over Mexican-American Andy Ruiz in December to claim the vacant WBO belt.

Unlike the fleet-fisted Ruiz, however, the Briton is expected to challenge Parker with his gangling 198cm frame and 10cm reach advantage.

The size difference will allow Fury to fight off the back foot and counter, a similar tactic to that which Parker deployed against Ruiz.

Parker's trainer, Kevin Barry, told reporters on Wednesday that his fighter would have to completely change his game plan for Fury.

"Joseph will have to make the fight, be the aggressor and the guy coming forward because I don't see that in Hughie Fury's style," Barry said.

"Will he bring the pressure Andy Ruiz brought? Probably not.

"(Fury's) a very difficult and awkward guy who uses his height and reach and awkwardness very well."

Parker, born and raised in south Auckland, currently bases himself in Las Vegas with Barry and Polish stablemate Izu Ugonoh.

He has been back on deck with Barry for the past five weeks, three of which have been spent in training and sparring.

The other two have involved strength and fitness work, as well as physical maintenance and rest.

Barry said the 25-year-old had returned for his first training camp as a heavyweight world champion with more enthusiasm than ever before.

"He arrived back in really good shape, first week back he was hitting the bag 10 rounds at a time, easily," Barry said.

"He was almost getting a little bored because he wanted to feel those punches coming at him, he knew we had a very good sparring team in place."

Both fighters will head into the bout unbeaten at the professional level, with Parker winning 22 bouts and Fury winning 20.

But the Manchester-based contender has not fought since April 2016, when he won by technical decision over Cameroonian Fred Kassi.

Promoters Duco Events also confirmed on Wednesday that the fight would take place before Fury could face investigations for allegedly failing a 2015 drug test.

Barry insisted Fury would be subject to all the regular WADA-approved drug testing for the fight, and an in-ring test from Parker too.

If Parker could surmount Fury's challenge, thoughts would then go to title unification bouts against American WBC champion Deontay Wilder or the winner of April's fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko.

"We know a win against Fury, getting rid of that mandatory challenger, opens up many opportunities for us," Barry said.

Parker and Fury will split a purse bid of $4.35 million 60-40 respectively for the fight, as a result of Parker's title incumbency.

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