ZB

How Joseph Parker could be in world title fight this weekend

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Apr 2022, 10:11am
Joseph Parker last fought in December 2021 where he claimed a unanimous decision win over Derek Chisora. (Photo / Photosport)
Joseph Parker last fought in December 2021 where he claimed a unanimous decision win over Derek Chisora. (Photo / Photosport)

How Joseph Parker could be in world title fight this weekend

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Apr 2022, 10:11am

Joseph Parker could wake up and find himself fighting for a world title this weekend should Tyson Fury suddenly need a new opponent.

Fury, the WBC and The Ring heavyweight champion of the world, defends his belts against mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday morning (NZT) in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 90,000.

With such a big event on hand, Parker's manager David Higgins has confirmed his fighter has been confirmed as the man to step in should Whyte be forced out late.

"Joseph is in the best shape of his life. He basically hasn't stopped training and keeping in shape since the victory over Chisora," Higgins told the Herald. "Obviously, he knows Fury inside out and the promoters wanted a backup fighter. Because Whyte was quite sporadic in terms of his engagement with the promotion, they wanted and needed a backup fight and there's a huge amount of money invested in making Wembley Stadium available for boxing.

"Joseph has put his hand up and agreed to do it, and Tyson agreed. They are great mates as everyone knows, but it is a business at the same time. There's a lot of money on the line and the world title's on the line."

While at this point there is only an agreement in place for Parker to step in on Whyte's behalf, Higgins said it would be hard to see him not put his hand up for another shot at Whyte – something Parker has been chasing since their first encounter in 2018 in which a clash of heads sent Parker to the canvas early, but was ruled as a knockdown for Whyte and ultimately swung the fight for the Brit.

"That's a very interesting question, and has not been discussed," Higgins said when asked if Parker was confirmed to step in should Whyte need a new opponent. "But I can tell you this, if it made sense, yes. Parker has been looking for a rematch with Dillian Whyte since the unfortunate 2018 fight where Whyte got lucky with the head butt being called a knockdown. Since then, Whyte has called everyone out except Joseph Parker – he's sort of ignored and evaded even discussing it, so if an opportunity came to fight Dillian Whyte at Wembley, hell yes Joseph would be in."

Should Parker not get the call to step into the ring in front of 90,000 at Wembley this weekend, he will remain in pursuit of a bout against rising Englishman Joe Joyce in a fight that would likely see the winner earn a mandatory challenge for Oleksandr Usyk's WBO title, with Joyce (1) and Parker (2) the top ranked contenders with the body.

However, Higgins admits things have been slow going in negotiations with Joyce's promoter Frank Warren and his team.

"A fight against Joyce would be a massive, credible event. A 50-50 matchup...when that matchup was leaked in the media, the fan feedback has basically been 100 per cent positive, so it would be a worldwide blockbuster.

"There's no timeframe on these things (though). You only make a deal when the terms are right. As soon as you put a timeframe on it, you've got no leverage and you'll get railroaded on a negotiation. Parker has been around a long time now and he understands the business and nuances of negotiations.

"We'll happily sit forever with no fight until the right terms are available, so it's really up to the Warren team. They've got our terms; they can piss around forever, but there will be no fight until the terms are agreeable."