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

Boxing: Parker open to possibility of fighting Joshua in November

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker. Photo / photosport.nz
New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker. Photo / photosport.nz

The promoters of New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker are open to their man getting his world title challenge against Anthony Joshua in November should the IBF champion not agree terms with Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev.

The possibility of Parker fighting Joshua in Manchester on November 26 rather than in London in March next year was raised by his probable opponent in the United Kingdom, Englishman David Price.

Price, a tall 33-year-old making a comeback after three defeats in the last three years, told World Boxing News of the possibility of losing his shot against Parker should Pulev fall through. Price would be an ideal dress rehearsal for the Kiwi's mandatory title challenge, but Duco Events' Dean Lonergan admitted he had an open mind.

"If the opportunity arises and [trainer] Kevin [Barry] agrees, and more importantly Joseph does, we would be open to the idea of fighting Joshua earlier, but that's not the plan at the moment," Lonergan said.

"And that's all assuming Joe gets past Alexander Dimitrenko, a durable and and under-rated opponent, in Auckland on October 1. Because if he doesn't then we have to start again."

Parker, 24 and undefeated after 20 professional fights, will meet Ukrainian Dimitrenko at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre, the venue where he earned his shot against Joshua with a hard-fought victory over the tough Carlos Takam in May.

Price told World Boxing News he was impressed with Parker's win over Takam, saying: "I've followed him from early on when he was fighting the usual suspects just racking the wins up, but Parker's win against Takam stands out as Takam is a serious contender.

"Parker seems to have momentum, he's young and has fast hands but I do believe if I fight him I'll knock him out.

"I don't think he's been hit properly yet and obviously, my power is my main asset. He's a big puncher and it will probably be the first fight I go into as the underdog so the pressure is off for me, really.

"We've agreed the [Parker] fight, and as far as I'm aware, it's just a case of Pulev taking the Joshua fight or agreeing terms. If it gets to the point where the fight's on, then I'll get the Parker fight.

"But if Pulev doesn't agree to the Joshua fight then I believe Parker will step into the main fight. Obviously, I'm hoping they come to an agreement with Pulev. We're still in limbo a little bit at the moment. We just need to find out what's going on with the Pulev situation and we can go from there."

- NZ Herald

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