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

Boxing: Parker on brink of three-fight extravaganza

First Andy Ruiz, and then potentially the world.

That's the clarity Joseph Parker and his camp finally have after confirmation of a bout against Andy Ruiz in Auckland on December 10 for the WBO world heavyweight title.

Promoters Duco Events are currently not commenting, saying while an agreement has been reached with Ruiz's manager Bob Arum, the contract is not yet signed.

That attitude is understandable given Duco are finally breasting the finish tape on securing the fight and don't want to trip up at the last moment. It's anticipated Dean Lonergan will hold a press conference in Auckland in the middle of next week when he returns from the WBO annual convention in Puerto Rico.

But a clear - and exciting - path has now emerged for Parker if he can overcome Ruiz and secure the WBO title.

Ruiz is a very winnable bout for one of most exciting contenders in the division; a success here - and Eden Park is now firming as the likely venue - will earn him a big payday, with bigger ones to come.

News out of the WBO convention suggests the organisation, in sanctioning the Parker v Ruiz Jr fight for the title, have also ordered that Englishman David Haye will fight the winner, and potentially in April next year.

That fight is bound to be in England, not New Zealand.

If Parker can travel there as the WBO champion and defeat Haye, his profile will soar and Duco will be in an enviable negotiation position for the next fight.

Haye, a former world title holder at both cruiserweight and heavyweight, is a popular and charismatic figure and a fight in London would guarantee a huge crowd and television audience.

That in turn would promote Parker to the English, and a victory would set up a mega-fight, a potential unification bout, with Englishman Anthony Joshua. Parker is already mandatory challenger to Joshua's IBF title; if he holds the WBO belt he will be guaranteed a much bigger share of the purse, and it's likely to be in the region of eight figures.

Duco will undoubtedly argue a 50-50 split of the purse for the Joshua fight and the Englishman's manager Eddie Hearn will find that difficult to argue against. He is likely to have been previously been pushing for a split of 75-25.

Hearn had lined up Parker for his man's next fight, only to change his mind once Wladimir Klitschko became available.

Now Klitschko is about to pull out of the contest - which was also to be held on December 10 - leaving Hearn to quickly attempt to find an alternative.

Duco stole a march on Hearn by aligning with Ruiz Jr's promoter Bob Arum, an extremely experienced and influential boxing figure. It quickly paid dividends. Arum has six fighters who hold WBO world titles.

There is also a wildcard factor at play.

Controversial Englishman Tyson Fury had to vacate the WBO belt for the Parker-Ruiz fight to happen. In turn, the WBO has promised him a mandatory challenge against the title-holder. If Fury returns swiftly from his sabbatical to cope with his well publicised mental health and cocaine abuse issues, could he leap-frog Haye in the queue to fight Parker?
Potentially, but Duco will be unconcerned. Frank Warren manages Haye and Fury, and Duco won't mind which boxer they face first.

The world is potentially Parker's oyster.

Only 24, and with some big-money fights in front of him, Joseph Parker is set to cash in.

- NZ Herald

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