Joseph Parker's trainer Kevin Barry has revealed the full extent of his boxer's elbow problems over the past two years, saying it had got so bad Parker couldn't straighten his left arm.
Parker's elbow surgery late last year, revealed by the Herald yesterday, has helped the 26-year-old significantly and could prove to be crucial in his world heavyweight title unification bout against Anthony Joshua in Cardiff on April 1 NZT.
It has received the attention of Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn, who said recently: "There are rumours that Parker has been injured for the past two or three fights but now is injury-free and looks unbelievable in training."
Barry, in breaking down the detail of Parker's operations, said in London: "He had numerous bone chips in his left elbow, he had bone growth on both sides of the elbow and also where the actual elbow socket rolls into. Joe was unable to straighten his arm because the socket had calcified over.
"The surgery was to remove all that bone, to get rid of the pain we've had to deal with over the last two years, and to get Joe punching like he was in 2014 and 2015.
"A lot of people will say to us 'why didn't you get the surgery earlier?' What actually happened was we were looking to get the surgery done early 2016 and through the great work of our promotion team were able to get a fight with Carlos Takam for the mandatory with the IBF, which was putting us in position to fight Anthony Joshua.
"We decided the option was too great and we worked through it and straight after said 'OK, we now have the mandatory, let's think about getting the surgery done' and of course Tyson Fury gave the belts up and we were presented with a major opportunity to fight Andy Ruiz for the WBO title… once again we put the surgery off.
"We are very happy that Joe, for the first time in two years, is now pain free in the gym. We had a very enjoyable training camp where we've been able to get the sufficient work, some great sparring. I haven't had to call sessions short like I have had to in the past two years.
"Joe has always had a knockout punch, but I can tell you this: Joe is delivering a lot faster, a lot snappier, he's throwing a lot more punches, and he's a lot happier than he was."
Asked why the camp had decided to reveal the surgeries now – Parker's left elbow was done on November 25 and his right on December 1 – Barry said: "There's been a story released, we want to be very transparent, and that's why we're commenting on it now."
Parker's most recent fight was against a Hughie Fury in Manchester in September, a fight which he won by majority decision and couldn't get his normally quick jab going.
Barry said: "The reason why he was leading with left hooks was that he couldn't straighten his left arm."
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