Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Joseph Parker on track for rich title fight

Joseph Parker and trainer Kevin Barry after beating Alexander Dimitrenko. Photo /
Joseph Parker and trainer Kevin Barry after beating Alexander Dimitrenko. Photo /

Joseph Parker's victory over Alexander Dimitrenko tonight opened the way to a big-money title fight against either Anthony Joshua or Andy Ruiz Junior.

Negotiations for a fight against either are continuing. There is potential to fight Brit Joshua in Manchester in November or Mexican-American Ruiz Jr in Auckland this summer - possibly as early as December.

The Joshua fight would be the tougher and less lucrative for Parker but still a big earner and remarkable experience. As IBF champion, Joshua would command the lion's share of the purse - perhaps 75 per cent. A fight against Ruiz Jr would be closer to 50-50 as it would potentially be for Tyson Fury's vacant WBO title, and Parker, ranked No 1, is higher on the list than the No 3-ranked Ruiz Jr.

Fury is the current WBO champion, but appears to be in more difficulty following reports of an alleged positive drugs test for cocaine.

Another option for the 24-year-old Kiwi is a fight against the No 2-ranked Wladimir Klitschko, probably in Germany, for the WBO title. To make matters more complicated, the Joshua and Klitschko camps are also in talks for a November fight.

Should Parker win a bout against Ruiz Jr, a unification fight against Joshua would command a purse of many millions.

Fury had been due to fight Klitschko in Manchester on October 29, defending the WBA and WBO heavyweight belts he took off the Ukrainian last November.

One attempt at a rematch had already been abandoned because of an ankle injury sustained by Fury, and his management cited mental health reasons behind the latest cancellation last week. A source close to the planned fight told PA Sport he had been informed "traces" of cocaine were found in Fury's system. The 28-year-old fighter's camp would not confirm that.

ESPN reported Fury was tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, which is based in Las Vegas, as part of the routine agreed by both fighters before the fight.

- NZ Herald

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