Delays and distractions upset Joseph Parker's preparations for Hughie Fury fight

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Joseph Parker v Hughie Fury confirmed for May 6 in Auckland.

Time to get back to work.

Five weeks ago Joseph Parker returned to his Las Vegas base with a spring in his step, ready for his first training camp as WBO world heavyweight champion.

During a blissful summer break in Samoa and New Zealand, Parker afforded himself the chance to bask in the afterglow of his historic victory over Andy Ruiz last December.

Joseph Parker will fight Hughie Fury in Auckland on May 6 in his first WBO world title defence.
RAYMOND SAGAPOLUTELE/FAIRFAX NZ

Joseph Parker will fight Hughie Fury in Auckland on May 6 in his first WBO world title defence.

Once his first title defence was set against unbeaten Brit Hughie Fury, Parker immediately returned to Vegas, skipping the NRL Auckland Nines and Halberg Awards where he was nominated for sportsman of the year, and ripped into smashing out 10 rounds at a time on the bag. He even requested to start sparring early.

But, three weeks into preparations, one week into sparring, trainer Kevin Barry put Parker on ice.

Plans had changed.

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Delays and distractions from the Fury camp forced the fight to be pushed out from early April to May 6.

Conscious of injuries Parker sustained in the elongated build-up to his grueling win over Carlos Takam last year, rest was deemed best.

On Wednesday, Parker finally had a date and venue - Auckland's Vector Arena - confirmed.

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He's now had two weeks away from pounding the bag, and must start his eight week camp all over again. It's a far from ideal, though Fury has his own issues to work through. 

"After this long, stalling drawn-out process by Fury's promoter [Frank Warren] finally we can announce a date and start focusing on Joe and Fury in the ring on May 6," Barry said.

"Now it's time for us to get back to work.

"We all saw with the Carlos Takam fight last year the 12 week camp was a little too long and we've learnt from that. Joe over the past two weeks has been focusing on strength and conditioning; yoga, physio and some ice treatment. For our typical training week this has been like attending a spa treatment for him.

"We feel very good where his condition and confidence is at. We've studied Hughie Fury's last two fights and put a very good game-plan in place.

"This fight you'll see the tactics a little bit different."

Fury (20-0) is nothing like Ruiz. Where Parker enjoyed a five centimetre height advantage over the Mexican, this time he will give up the same difference to the 1.98cm Fury.

That's not all. Parker spent the majority of the Ruiz fight on the backfoot as constant pressure came his way.

Against Fury, who like his cousin Tyson is notably awkward, mobile and likes to tie up his opponents on the inside, Parker will need to dictate the action. Over the next two months that will be the focus of sparring. 

"This fight against Fury Joe will have to make the fight. He'll have to be the aggressor; the guy coming forward. I don't see that in Hughie Fury's style. I see this being a serious challenge for us." 

 - Stuff

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