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 ?
It was an injury Pacquiao sustained in sparring nearly a month ago, April 4 to be exact, when his right arm and that of a sparring partner got entangled.
According to reports, the Filipino world champion knocked down a sparring partner in the training camp session last Thursday.
Unbeaten Irish welterweight Byrne has served as a sparring partner for Filipino Pacquiao at trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in the build-up to both this fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and last December's victory over Oscar De La Hoya.
Peter Harrison, the challenger's father and trainer, said: "What Scott needs is a sparring partner who has the same physical build as Chacon and fights in an identical style to his.
Klitschko, who holds the IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA crown had used the 28-year-old Pianeta as a sparring partner last year.
Michael Moorer has vowed to grab Evander Holyfield's world boxing crown this weekend - after a sparring partner tried to pull a fast one.