Joseph Parker has contradicted his trainer Kevin Barry's comments over Tyson Fury and believes having 'The Gypsy King' in and around his training camp ahead of his much-anticipated bout with Anthony Joshua could "work in his favour".
Fury, currently building up his fitness with new coach Ben Davison ahead of a potential spring return, recently offered to spar with Parker ahead of his world unification bout with Joshua in Cardiff but his proposal was rejected by Barry, who saw little benefit in having Parker face off with the former RING magazine title holder just a few weeks before his meeting with current IBF, WBA and IBO champion.
But Parker, who invited Fury to accompany him on his ring walk at the Principality Stadium last month, thinks having the towering 29-year-old present during his preparation to face Joshua might stand him in good stead when he meets the Watford-born fighter in the ring on 31 March and would be happy to welcome a "great friend" to his training base when he arrives in the United Kingdom.
"It [having Fury present during training] could work in our favour, because I think there is a lot of dislike between the two even though they respect each other as boxers," Parker said, per Stuff.
"Like Kevin said he is a great friend of our team, we like having him around and he is a fun person to hang out with."
Parker may be open to the idea of working with Fury before he puts his belt WBO belt on the line against Joshua, but Barry does not think his fighter would benefit from practicing with a man who bears little resemblance to the 28-year-old and will instead pit him against sparring opponents who are similar to 'AJ' when it comes to height and style.
"With two weeks out we don't need to be getting in the ring with a six-feet nine [inches] Tyson Fury," Barry said. "But Tyson is a great friend of our team and we appreciate all the support that he gives us.
"But that doesn't work out for us. Once we hit English soil we will be in a tapering-off phase, we may spar a couple of four-rounders but it will be against somebody six-foot six – someone who looks and fights a bit like Joshua."