Joseph Parker v Junior Fa: Trainer Eugene Bareman sparks war of words over 'Higgins Show'

Trainer Eugene Bareman has ramped up the tension around the highly anticipated Joseph Parker-Junior Fa bout, with a war of words erupting between the two camps over what he calls the "Higgins Show".

The fight has been postponed until early next year, with Fa, 31, requiring surgery, after abnormalities were found in his blood. 

Fa admits he's gutted the fight has to be delayed, but vows to be ready for the bout, now tentatively rescheduled for February or March. 

But Bareman claims the delay means Fa will lose the biggest advantage he has over his Kiwi rival, insisting Parker's camp weren't taking the fight seriously, but manager David Higgins was orchestrating everything behind the scenes. 

Bareman also confirmed that, due to the delay, he and any of his City Kickboxing UFC fighters - including middleweight champion Israel Adesanya - are unlikely to be in Fa's corner, as they will have their own bouts to prepare for. 

"One thing we've been reminded of is that this is 100 percent the 'Higgins Show'," says Bareman. "It's all cool up here, but it's a shit fight backstage.

"David [Higgins] experienced this when he took Parker to fight [Anthony] Joshua. He had Eddie Hearn on his arse and now he's paying it back to us, making us work hard for everything. 

"We lose the main advantage we had. They were not taking this fight seriously and you know that because Kevin Barry took his time coming back. 

"We were already training for four weeks, before they decided to start.

"My gym at City Kickboxing, we run these streets. If you're partying with celebrities or scumbags, we will know about it. 

Joseph Parker & Junior Fa
Joseph Parker & Junior Fa. Photo credit: Photosport

"These guys are from Vegas, we run the streets. If they are not taking the fight seriously, we will know about it. 

"This is a fight and it's going to get nasty. 

"I have respect for Joseph and Kevin [Barry]. I like them, but at the same time, stuff those guys - they can kiss my arse."

Barry, Parker's trainer, has applauded Bareman for his "outstanding" rant, but insists Parker is taking the fight seriously. 

"At the age of 24, when he became the fourth-youngest WBO heavyweight champion, we did not take anything for granted," he says.

"We didn't take any opponent lightly and I can promise, with my hand on my heart, that we are not taking the fight lightly. 

"I can't control what other people think or say. I can control what I say, I can promise you this is the fight we are taking very, very seriously. 

"The stakes couldn't be higher for us. If we don't get this fight right, it's going to be a long time before Joseph gets back in the mix to fight for the world title. 

"Junior is sixth in the world and unbeaten. Joseph is 27 and has fought some of the biggest names in boxing, but at the age of 28, Joe is starting to come into his prime." 

Higgins claims they can control the narrative because they have invested the most money into the fight. 

"Frankly, we are pissed off at the carry-on from their camp," says Higgins. "They messed us around. 

"Do I feel sorry for them? No.

"There are no other opportunities in New Zealand, so we've been put out a lot, but this is boxing and we'll roll with the punches. 

"I hope Joseph Parker makes them pay for the extra time we've had to wait."