Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Parker one win away from big pay day

New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker is potentially one fight away from a showdown at Wembley Stadium against Englishman Anthony Joshua which would result in a million-dollar payday.

Standing in his way is the not insubstantial figure of France-based Cameroon fighter Carlos Takam, a 35-year-old who has lost only twice in 36 professional fights and who will arrive in Auckland a fortnight before his May 21 IBF world title elimination bout at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre with real hopes of being successful.

Takam presents by far the biggest test Parker has faced in his professional career but, should the South Aucklander win on home soil - and home advantage could be significant - then he will be on the cusp of earning big money in his title shot against either Joshua or current IBF heavyweight Charles Martin.

The undefeated Joshua will likely be a favourite to beat American southpaw Martin in London on April 9.

Should he do so, his promoter Eddie Hearn - buoyed by seeing his fighter sell out the 20,000-seat O2 Arena in minutes - has indicated to Parker's promoters Duco Events that an outdoor fight against Parker at Wembley Stadium in front of 100,000 is high on his agenda.

"Potentially, if Joseph Parker fights in England for a world title it will be in front of 100,000 people," Duco Events' Dean Lonergan said. "I don't know that any Kiwi has ever experienced that. To have 100,000 people turn up to watch two guys do battle in the middle of the ring would be something very special. It would be one of the biggest fights in the history of boxing."

There are several hurdles to cross before that becomes a reality, but the opportunities on offer should serve as a focus for Parker during the remainder of his training camp at his Las Vegas base.

Martin will earn seven figures for his fight against Joshua, regardless of whether he wins or loses, and it is understood Joshua earned £3 million ($6.3 million) for his victory over fellow Englishman Dillian Whyte at the O2 Arena in December last year.

"It's a very big occasion for me and the team," Parker said from Las Vegas today. "I've been working very hard for the last three years on my craft and my career. It's an exciting time to take this fight back to New Zealand for my supporters.

"This is the time for me to show what I can do in the ring against a top opponent. Fighting Takam is going to bring out the best in me. I'm going to turn on beast mode and go hard."

In order to secure the fight in New Zealand, Duco Events have had to guarantee a purse of more than $1 million, of which Takam is likely to get the lion's share. However, they are playing a long game, knowing an investment in this fight gets them closer to a bigger payday in London, New York or Las Vegas.

The 12,000-seat Vector Arena was on the table for the Parker v Takam bout, but the 24-year-old Kiwi preferred to fight at the 3000-seat Vodafone Events Centre where he has won twice as a professional. It is likely to be the last time he fights in South Auckland.

The fight, held on the same weekend as American Deontay Wilder defends his WBC world title against Russian Alexander Povetkin - one of the men who has beaten Takam - will be screened around the world.

"This is history in the making for New Zealand professional boxing, there's no doubt about that," Parker's trainer Kevin Barry said.

- NZ Herald

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