Joseph Parker's switch to a new glove provider has thrown his heavyweight opponent Dillian Whyte into a spin only days from their clash in London.
Parker will wear Fly gloves – but the English manufacturer also provides the gloves for Whyte, and Parker's opponent has insisted he will now change brands, a potentially risky move with the fight at the O2 Arena on Sunday morning rapidly approaching.
The drama unfolded during the official press conference in London today when Parker's trainer Kevin Barry revealed the support from Fly owner Josh Steffen. Steffen crafts the gloves, a pair of which cost more than $600, himself.
Barry told the room of more than 100 journalists and live television audience: "Josh rang us up and said 'I'm a huge fan of Joseph Parker's and I'd like to meet with you. I know you wear black Reyes every time you fight', and I said, 'yeah, we've had 25 fights and we've fought in Reyes every time'.
"He said let me make a glove for you. I thought 'are you for real?' This was a British company, a British guy, and so we had a meeting with him and we're now wearing Flys for the first time on Saturday night."
Barry would have known very well that Whyte is supported by Fly and probably would have been happy with the response. Whyte's promoter Eddie Hearn interrupted him by saying: "Well, he's getting sacked because Dillian wears Flys as well."
And Whyte said: "Here you go Josh, it's back to Grants and Rival, my friend. Later."
Whyte is understood to be furious at what he perceives to be disloyalty but now must quickly get used to wearing a new brand if he follows through with his threat. Fighters like to stick with routines and this issue could be the mental equivalent of a pebble in a shoe for Whyte, who is known as an emotional character.
Parker wants to wear the Fly brand because it is understood that once he tried on a pair he stated they were the most comfortable he had ever worn. A pair takes at least 10 hours of work to make.
In an interview with Boxing News, Steffen said: "The science of boxing, the science of the human hand, the science of throwing a punch has all been taken into deep consideration while creating these gloves."
Whyte was subdued during the press conference, Team Parker apparently taking comfort from his negative body language, and refusal to back up any of his recent "coward" claims regarding Parker's performance during his points loss to Anthony Joshua in April.
He smiled during the traditional stare-down, and patted Parker's face with a gloved right hand at the end before accepting the New Zealander's offer of a handshake.
The fight at the sold-out O2 Arena will be screened live on Sky Sports pay per view from 5am on Sunday NZT.
Patrick McKendry travelled to London with assistance from Duco Events