By Richard Damerell
Joseph Parker has become embroiled in a heated row with Junior Fa about the judges for this weekend’s heavyweight fight between the New Zealand rivals.
The former WBO champion returns against Fa in Auckland on Saturday, but a dispute over the officials was inflamed again during their press conference.
Fa’s manager Mark Keddell has suggested that Parker would be favoured by judges from Christchurch, an accusation that was dismissed by opposing trainer Kevin Barry.
“We looked at the list of judges,” said Keddell. “The Barry family are a very successful Christchurch family, and we just thought there was a couple of Auckland boys fighting, so we should have Auckland judges.
“We felt pretty strongly about that.”
Fa’s trainer Eugene Bareman joked: “We definitely didn’t want Kevin’s mate from the pub to be one of the judges.”
Barry replied: “It’s quite flattering what they are saying about my influence in Christchurch. I left Christchurch in 1992. I haven’t lived in Christchurch or New Zealand for nearly three decades.
“The fact that I have all this influence with the officials in Christchurch is really laughable.”
Parker’s manager David Higgins revealed that he had made a ‘compromise’ and hopes the disagreement can be resolved ahead of the fight.
“Dealing with Mark Keddell has been trickier than dealing with Eddie Hearn or Bob Arum, because it’s his big moment to shine,” said Higgins.
“He’s the smartest man in the room. We’re actually a lot more relaxed about it, because when Junior is lying on the ground, it doesn’t matter who the judges are.”
A clash with Derek Chisora could be next for Parker, if he overcomes Fa, and the 29-year-old intends to deliver an emphatic victory.
“There’s no secret, going into a fight, a fighter wants a knockout,” said Parker. “That’s what I’m going to be looking for. I think that’s what he’s going to be looking for too, but I know I possess the power to knock him out.
“I want to get him early.”
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