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

Boxing: Parker told to spread his wings in Europe and US to lift profile

Joseph Parker
Joseph Parker

Wladimir Klitschko's trainer has urged Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker to spread his wings and fight in Europe or the United States in order to make more money and increase his profile.

Parker, the WBO world champion, is at his Las Vegas base preparing for his first title defence against Englishman Hughie Fury in Auckland on May 6, while Russian former world champion Klitschko is in camp in Austria preparing for his mega-fight against Anthony Joshua at Wembley on April 29.

That is the sort of exposure Parker, 25, should be aiming for, according to Johnathon Banks, who has been Klitschko's head trainer since the legendary Emanuel Steward died in October 2012.

Banks, who has been in Klitschko's camp since 2004, said it's time for Parker to fight outside New Zealand - and in truth this fight against Fury will probably be his last in his country of birth for some time provided he wins.

"If Parker wins he should go anywhere where the challenge may be," Banks said. "He's not that dominant a figure for everyone to go down there, to go way down there to New Zealand to fight. Australia and New Zealand - who wants to? No one already wants to go there.

"If he's successful in defending his title, he will have to come to Europe or come to the United States, not only to make more money but to be a bigger name."

Given the lucrative fights available in the heavyweight division, Parker and his promoters Duco Events are in line for some lucrative deals should Parker continue to win. After Duco won the purse bid for the Fury fight with an offer of $4.1m, Parker will bank $2.4m - his richest payday yet.

But while Parker has sparred with Klitschko, the former lineal champion probably isn't in the South Aucklander's sights, according to Banks.

Much depends on whether Klitschko beats Joshua - and it's a tall order for the 41-year-old although certainly not out of the question - but Banks believes WBC champion Deontay Wilder is a more realistic choice of opponent.

"The dude is fearless and he don't care who he fights," Banks said of Parker. "He's a good talent. I've seen him sparring with Wladimir and I think he's pretty good.

"I don't think, once this fight is over with, Klitschko v Joshua, I don't see Joseph Parker wanting to fight Wladimir. He may, you never know.

"Right now, Wladimir is still the cash cow of the division. Other guys make money but you aren't making the money you want or would like to make unless you're fighting him. That is the power he carries right now and there's a reason for that, because he's been dominant for so long."

Banks said the Parker v Fury match-up was a good one because both fighters were young, fast and strong.

- NZ Herald

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