Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Joseph Parker to fight Anthony Joshua in 'English spring'

Joseph Parker could fight his mandatory IBF world title challenge against current holder Anthony Joshua in London as early as March next year.

The New Zealand heavyweight, in his second week of training for his July 21 fight against Australian Solomon Haumono in Christchurch, was slated to meet Joshua between November 19 and January 19, according to IBF regulations.

However, several factors can delay his challenge, including the possibility of Joshua - who fights American Dominic Breazeale in London next weekend in a title defence - having a unification bout against either WBC title holder Deontay Wilder or fellow Englishman Tyson Fury, the WBO and WBA champion.

In an interview with The Ring magazine, Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said a fight with Parker, 24, was likely to happen in the "spring", which would be between March and May.

"Parker is due to get a call on November 19 and it's possible that we have to take that one next spring.

That's a really good fight between two young heavyweights and it would be exciting," Hearn said.

Parker, who earned his No1 challenger spot with a hard-fought 12-round victory over Carlos Takam in Manukau, has returned to his Las Vegas base after a break and is about to resume sparring.

Trainer Kevin Barry said Parker's elbow soreness would be carefully managed during this time because it was during sparring when the problems generally arose. After the Takam fight, Parker revealed his body "broke down" during the tough 12-week camp, and said the pain in his left arm robbed it of some of its venom and added to his defensive issues.

Barry said today: "We've had a niggly elbow for a couple of fights now that we've been managing. You probably saw me icing it during the Takam fight. Whether or not that was the reason his hand was so low, I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say yes. But I definitely want the hands up a lot higher in the next fight.

"At the moment it's not an issue in training. It usually doesn't flare up until sparring. We are doing a lot of neuro-muscular work on it.

"The thing with Joe is that he has such fast hands and if he punches at that sort of velocity and he doesn't hit the target, there's going to be some hyper-extension."

Barry said he and Parker would not travel to London to watch Joshua's first defence of his title, but would watch it closely.

"I've been very impressed with [Joshua] during his last two fights. I think he has developed and improved a lot during his last two fights.

"He's a big guy and he uses the height he has very effectively. I'd be lying if I said we wouldn't be watching him intently, because we will be, just as I'm sure he would have been watching Joe closely in his last fight."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 28 Oct 2016 08:41:05 Processing Time: 1009ms