Former WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker has reacted to whispers that Jai Opetaia dropped Tyson Fury in sparring, as the Brit continues to prepare for one of his toughest tests to date, Oleksandr Usyk, in a first undisputed heavyweight title bout since 1999.
Opetaia left the Fury training camp after completing just five rounds of sparring with ‘The Gypsy King’, bringing about rumours that the Aussie hurt Fury in sparring and was sent away as a result.
Although, with Opetaia due to fight Mairis Briedis on the Fury-Usyk undercard, some onlookers believe the undefeated power-puncher is instead simply seeking sparring of his own, particularly with his opponent being a southpaw.
In an interview with Boxing King Media, Parker denied any truth to the stories and admitted that he found it tough to stay away from defending Fury online.
“Sparring is sparring but a lot of people will make up stories. Nobody really knows what happens in sparring, only Tyson’s team know and Jai Opetaia knows. I think that he flew back home because he has got sparring that he wanted to do back home and Tyson is sparring who he is sparring.
Only they know what happened and only they have the proof, so I think all of these [rumours] are just stories from people who think they know what happened, but no one knows.
“I know that Tyson never got dropped and I want to go online and say ‘hey guys, he didn’t’, but I don’t want to be a part of that, I just want to save my energy for my fight.”
Fury-Usyk will take place on February 17th in Riyadh, while Joseph Parker will return to action in a tough fight on March 8th against Zhilei Zhang, on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou, which also takes place in the Saudi capital.