a sparring partner

sparring partner

1. Literally, someone with whom one practices martial arts or boxing. OK, John here is going to be your new sparring partner. He's tougher than you're used to, but he'll help your skills improve.
2. By extension, someone with whom one engages in a debate, argument, or heated discussion, especially when one enjoys doing so. I was sad to hear he wouldn't be in the class next semester—he was my favorite sparring partner during class discussions. The two have been sparring partners on the morning talk show for nearly ten years.
See also: partner, spar

a sparring partner

Someone's sparring partner is someone they enjoy arguing with or discussing things with. My old sparring partner Chris Moyles has got the Radio 1 breakfast show in place of Sara Cox. Note: This expressing comes from boxing, where a sparring partner was someone to practise with.
See also: partner, spar
References in periodicals archive ?
According to reports, the Filipino world champion knocked down a sparring partner in the training camp session last Thursday.
Klitschko, who holds the IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA crown had used the 28-year-old Pianeta as a sparring partner last year.