Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Parker could be third in line to fight Joshua

Anthony Joshua celebrates winning the IBF World Heavyweight title. Photo / Getty Images
Anthony Joshua celebrates winning the IBF World Heavyweight title. Photo / Getty Images

Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker could be third in line to fight IBF champion Anthony Joshua, a clash which could take place in London early next year.

Many things have to fall into place for the fight to happen, not least Parker beating tough Cameroon veteran Carlos Takam at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre on May 21.

But 24-year-old Parker, who would be the mandatory challenger to Joshua's belt should he win, is in the thoughts of Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn, as well as those of Tyson Fury, the WBO and WBA champion preparing for a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko.

Joshua's first defence of his title, which he won in convincing fashion last weekend with a second-round knockout of Charles Martin, one of the most underwhelming champions in recent history, will come in July.

Hearn said he wanted the fight on July 9 - a clash with Fury v Klitschko in Manchester, which is on the same date - but regardless it is likely to be a tune-up bout for Joshua before he potentially goes head to head in a big-money fight with Fury in November.

A unification fight would take precedence over Parker's challenge, but, should Joshua remain successful, the way could be clear for Parker to then fight for not only the IBF title, but potentially also the WBO and WBA belts. Given Hearn is likely to keep the 26-year-old Joshua active, it wouldn't be out of the question to see him fight Parker in January or February 2017.

Hearn sees Parker as a genuine threat, but also a potential money maker for himself and Joshua.

The path would not be as straightforward should Fury win, because the man who refers to himself as the Gypsy King is as unorthodox out of the ring as he is in it, but the good news for Parker is that Fury rates him and is prepared to fight him.

Joshua's promoter Hearn said recently: "My plan is to fight on July 9 or wherever, then to go in mid-early November and then look at our mandatory. Now, the unification would allow us to avoid the mandatory if it wasn't the right guy, ie. commercially great for us. But again, Joseph Parker could be a great fight for Joshua, that could be a big fight.
"It's like this massive jigsaw at the moment but you can't really wait on these fights because sometimes they just don't happen. But with Fury, all of a sudden, maybe November is the time to make the fight."

Hearn, like Joshua, suddenly hot property with the British media, added: "I think Tyson Fury's an easy fight for Joshua. I see no problems in that fight at all. I think he knocks him out convincingly. I think he does exactly the same to him as what he did to [Charles] Martin. He's too slow. People say Klitschko couldn't get him out, Klitschko never had the no-fear policy and the speed and the power."

The outspoken Fury, meanwhile, has said he would fight "anyone at any time. I'll fight [WBC champion Deontay] Wilder, I'll fight Joshua, I'll fight Klitschko, whoever, next. Parker, Joseph Parker, I really rate that guy and I'd like to share a ring with him."

- NZ Herald

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