Boxing: 'We've made some changes' - Joseph Parker's new trainer on how he'll get Kiwi heavyweight back to the top

Joseph Parker's new trainer Andy Lee has broken down what he's done to get the Kiwi heavyweight back on course to rejoin boxing's elite, heading into Sunday morning's (NZ time) bout against Derek Chisora.

After an unconvincing victory over Junior Fa in February, 29-year-old Parker split from long-time trainer Kevin Barry, bringing to an end a partnership that had lasted 30 fights, with 28 of those being victories.

In Barry's place, Parker has partnered with Lee, a former WBO middleweight champion as well and second cousin of heavyweight contender Tyson Fury. 

Lee and Parker have been training together in Ireland, with their first match-up as a team against Chisora in Manchester this weekend.

Lee says he'd already had some key areas of improvement in mind for Parker's arrival.

"The first thing I'd seen from watching him, before he'd even arrived, was that he'd have momentary lapses in concentration during the round," Lee tells Newshub. "It was really telling. 

"The big tell was how he moved his feet, how he stepped when he wasn't punching - he'd totally switch off.

"So, I addressed that, and we've been working on it every day since, every day since.

"We made some changes to how he punches, made some changes to the punches he throws. Just worked on the things that he'll have to do to win this fight."

But while many fighters would resist having their style broken down and put back together, Lee says that Parker didn't hesitate to get on board with his new trainer's way of thinking.

"Joseph's a lovely guy to be around. [He's] very humble, genuine, what you see is what he really is. There was never a problem with us getting along.

"In the gym he's giving me absolutely everything, everything I've asked him to do, he's done.

"I've pushed him, I've stressed him, and he's never quit - never even looked like he'll quit when I've pushed him to the limit.

"He's got a good heart, training's gone completely to plan. [There's been] no injuries, and we're just ready to fight."

At 29-years-of age, Parker's moves in the coming years will determine how he's remembered as a heavyweight.

While at one point having been the WBO heavyweight champion, in recent years Parker has looked a shadow of the fighter that took on the likes of Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.

Since the start of 2017, Parker has only been able to deliver one knock-out, coming against Alexander Flores.

And while both Alex Leapai and Shawndell Winters were defeated by TKO, the Kiwi has been forced to rely on judges' scorecards more than he'd have been accustomed to in the early days of his career.

Taking that on board, Lee says that fighting Chisora will be key in determining exactly where Parker stands in comparison to the current generation of heavyweight contenders.

"It's a big fight, there's going to be a lot of pressure, but we've prepared for it now," Lee continues. "He'll be under pressure in the fight. 

"Chisora starts fast, there's no mystery to how he fights, it's always the same: He comes out fast, throw big bombs, and Joseph has to be prepared to handle that.

"I don't like to call Chisora a 'gatekeeper,' because on his day he can beat any heavyweight out there. Maybe not Tyson [Fury], maybe not [Deontay] Wilder, maybe not [Anthony] Joshua - but any of the rest of them, he can beat them.

"He's still a very good challenge, but Joseph should be beating him. If he has any ambition in reality to go on and become a two-time world champion, then he has to beat Chisora.

"He was heavyweight champion of the world fighting Joshua, and he needs to get back up there. It's been a while since he's had a performance to show he belongs up there, so this is an important fight for him to box, win and look good, and put himself up there with the top guys."

Finally, Lee also says he's open to carry on working with Parker - provided that Sunday's result goes their way.

"The decision's in Joe's hands, more so than mine. I'm happy to work with Joe as long as he wants me.

"So far, all the indications are that that's going to be the case, but we have to win. There's no point in flogging a dead horse if we keep losing, so he has to win.

Join Newshub at 8:00am on Sunday for live updates of Joseph Parker v Dereck Chisora.