Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Big fight taylor-made for Barry apprentice

Taylor helps run Joseph Parker's social media affairs, an increasingly important aspect of the professional fight game, including Parker's YouTube channel. Photo / Dean Purcell
Taylor helps run Joseph Parker's social media affairs, an increasingly important aspect of the professional fight game, including Parker's YouTube channel. Photo / Dean Purcell

As Joseph Parker walks, smiling, to the ring tomorrow night before the biggest fight of his life, following in his footsteps will be 21-year-old Taylor Barry, a young man set on keeping boxing in the family.

Taylor, son of Parker's trainer Kevin, will be ringside at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre, handing out advice, as well as water. Also there will be Bryan, his uncle. Parker will be led out by two of his uncles in traditional Samoan dress. For the 24-year-old heavyweight on the brink of a world title fight, this really is a family business.

Having lived in the Barry residence in Las Vegas for three years, Parker, 24, is close to Taylor who hopes this is the start of a career in the fight game.

"Over the last three years, we've bonded really closely," Taylor said. "I have a twin brother, Mitchell, away on a Mormon mission in Oklahoma City, and I treat Joe like my own brother."

Taylor was a promising footballer at Green Valley High School in Las Vegas, and was comfortable playing either side of the ball; defensive end or tight end. But after receiving an offer from dad Kevin to help full-time in the gym, Taylor couldn't say no.

"I had the chance to play college football, but when the opportunity came to train with my dad and be with Joe, I jumped on it. I've been around boxing all of my life. [Former New Zealand heavyweight] David Tua used to live at my house - it's something I'm used to and comfortable with.

"I've been developing and learning how to train properly and handle situations for the last three years under my dad.

"Over that time, I've progressed a lot and one day hopefully I will be as good a coach as he is."

Taylor helps run Parker's social media affairs, an increasingly important aspect of the professional fight game, including Parker's YouTube channel.

Taylor is an increasingly important part of Parker's entourage. But even he is surprised by how relaxed his man is before a fight, an attitude he expects Parker to keep in the hours before tomorrow night's IBF world title eliminator against Carlos Takam.

"All the fighters I've seen are very different. Tua would be as angry as nails before a fight. But to see Joe dance and smile before a fight ... I get more nervous than him.

"He's a bit like Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao's running out to the ring smiling because he's confident he's put in the hard work. My dad once told all of us, 'if you've put 100 per cent effort in at the gym, why be nervous on fight night'?"

- NZ Herald

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