Former WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker has addressed the speculations surrounding Jai Opetaia allegedly dropping Tyson Fury during their sparring sessions. Fury is currently gearing up for a significant challenge against Oleksandr Usyk in the first undisputed heavyweight title bout since 1999.
Opetaia left Fury’s training camp after completing only five rounds of sparring with the British boxer, leading to rumors that he had inflicted damage on Fury and was subsequently dismissed.
However, with Opetaia scheduled to fight Mairis Briedis on the Fury-Usyk undercard, some observers believe that the undefeated power-puncher is simply pursuing sparring with a southpaw, given his upcoming opponent.
In an interview with Boxing King Media, Parker refuted the validity of the rumors, acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding sparring sessions. He emphasized that only Tyson’s team and Opetaia know the actual events and reasons behind Opetaia’s departure.
Joseph Parker said
“Sparring is sparring, but many people create stories. Only Tyson’s team and Jai Opetaia know what really happened. I believe he flew back home because he had specific sparring arrangements he wanted to fulfill there, and Tyson is sparring with the individuals he has chosen.”
Parker resisted the urge to participate in online discussions defending Fury, emphasizing the private nature of sparring and the lack of concrete evidence regarding the alleged incident.
“Only they have the proof, so I think all of these rumors 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.”
The Fury-Usyk bout is scheduled for February 17th in Riyadh, while Joseph Parker is set to return to the ring on March 8th in a challenging match against Zhilei Zhang, part of the undercard for Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou, also taking place in the Saudi capital.