• Tyson Fury’s former sparring partner says his style is ‘lackadaisical’ • But Arnold Gjergjaj says WBO beltholder can get in the ring with the best
Tyson Fury’s former sparring partner Arnold Gjergjaj has claimed his rival has “zero” chance of winning a rematch with WBO world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, despite being the betting favourite.
Undefeated Fury, who lost his WBA and IBF belts by unanimous decision to Parker in March last year, has spent much of the last 12 months away from the ring recovering from a shoulder injury.
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The 31-year-old, however, recently returned to training and he looks set to fight for the third time in 18 months against Parker in September. But Gjergjaj, a former world title challenger himself, said he did not think Fury would be anywhere near the same level he was back in 2016.
“It’s obvious that he is not the greatest,” the former WBO cruiserweight champion told Sky Sports News. “He is very good, but it is not the way he beat me. The style of Tyson was lackadaisical, making up for his lack of power with power. His engine was so good, he was unstoppable.”
Gjergjaj, who sparred with Fury in 2016, also accused the former heavyweight world champion of using minimal preparation when he fought Parker in New Zealand. “He was like nothing. His biggest talent was that he was always ready to rumble, but that was the only thing he had on his side,” he said.
The tetchy atmosphere between the rival camps has been one of the most memorable elements of the build-up to the rematch, which is scheduled for Manchester on 9 September. The heavyweight champion, however, dismissed the claims Gjergjaj made about his former sparring partner.
“He is dishonest, a fake, somebody I should’ve stuck my fingers in my ears when he said that,” Fury said. “Then all of a sudden the old boy said the same rubbish he was saying before the first fight.
“He has bad blood with me and Parker and he wants to steal Parker’s thunder. He knows he will never beat Parker, he knows he would be massacred. He just loves sparring with me. It is amazing watching me prepare for Parker. I am going to hammer that guy inside a round. He has never been hit before,” he added.
The 37-year-old Gjergjaj has gone on to lose all four of his fights since his world title defeat by Fury. He quit the sport last year and now runs an agri-business in Slovakia.