Hughie Fury has never seen anything like Joseph Parker before, taunts trainer Kevin Barry
Kevin Barry has questioned Hughie Fury's ability to handle a pumped up Joseph Parker and the pressures of a world title fight in the lanky Brit's own back yard.
Parker takes his WBO heavyweight belt to Manchester to defend it against Fury on September 23.
While Barry concedes there is heat on Parker to produce a statement performance in his British debut, he has confidence that will unfold and has instead argued the readiness of the unbeaten but untested 22-year-old Fury.
There has been plenty of words coming out of the Fury camp about the physical development and new look of a fighter who hasn't fought in earnest for 18 months, a period where Parker has been busy, climbing into the top tier of the rejuvenated division.
"Talk is talk," Barry tells Stuff from Las Vegas where he has Parker starting the sparring phase of his training camp.
"Of course Hughie is evolving and developing ... he is a young guy and still improving. But that inactivity is one of the reasons why they never came down to Auckland to fight us on May 6, the time obviously wasn't right for them.
"It takes a lot of courage to be in this position and this is Hughie's first time in a major spotlight. There is huge pressure and expectations on him, he's fighting in front of his family and friends and fan base. We've had that luxury many times fighting in New Zealand and the way we look at this, travelling over there, is that all the pressure is on him.
"Joe's battle tested. He showed it against Carlos Takam and Andy Ruiz, two very physical, very aggressive fights. They are the sort of fights that have him ready. He is proven in the heat of battle.
"Hughie Fury has never been in a position like that. Joe has been heading pay-per-view cards since his fifth fight while this is Fury's first time in the spotlight.
"We see a lot of pressure on the young guy and I can promise you that Hughie Fury has never seen anything like Joseph Parker before."
Barry felt Parker had benefited from his extended break after a less than convincing first-up defence against Razvan Cojanu when Fury pulled out of the scheduled Auckland fight at the last minute, citing a back injury.
Parker, 25, had managed to shake off the shoulder and elbow issues that had dogged him over the past year and was training strongly, acutely aware of the importance of finally getting a fight in Britain which is now seen as the hotbed for heavyweights.
"Joe is very driven at the moment. He wants to look great. He knows that his last performance wasn't his best work, and we want make sure that this fight is something to be proud of," Barry said.
"The first three weeks here would be as good as I've ever had off Joe in the last four and a half years. He's very motivated, training very purposely ... he realises the opportunity that he has with this fight and what a successful defence will bring us.
"It's a real exciting time for us. We are pumped to be getting to the UK. Joe is very excited to be fighting there at 25 years of age, 23-0 and carrying a world title belt ... I think this is the right time, right now for us to stake a claim and build Joe's brand. We are very hyped up for this."
Barry saw only positives out of having a second camp totally dedicated to Fury, whose height and fight style make for an awkward night where Parker will surely have to dictate the pace of the bout.
"I have modified it and changed a few things up, even brought back some things from our early days. All in all, we have a very balanced training camp."
Parker faces four more weeks of sparring before heading to London to taper and then shifting north to Manchester in the middle of the fight week.
Barry has two new tall sparring partners coming on board for Parker over the next two weeks.
"One in particular will give a lot better than what Hughie Fury will give," the veteran trainer predicted.