Joseph Parker has spoken of his desire to fight a credible opponent next. In his own words, he doesn't want a "bum", especially if he fights in New Zealand in his next bout which looks increasingly likely.
In a revealing interview with the Herald on Sunday, New Zealand heavyweight Parker, the WBO world champion, spoke of the need to be patient while his promoters Duco Events attempted to sign his next opponent, a man who will be carefully chosen as a voluntary defence after the Kiwi outpointed Hughie Fury in a mandatory defence of his title in Manchester last month.
It is a tricky balancing act, as he acknowledges. In theory his next opponent must be ranked within the top 15 by the WBO, a man who will present a challenge and capture the imagination of Kiwis and boxing fans around the world, but not so good as to present a serious threat to his title, for a loss at this stage would be a huge setback.
Parker's last fight here was against Razvan Cojanu, a former sparring partner who lasted 12 frustrating rounds in an uninspiring bout against the home favourite in Auckland in May.
It was a fight organised at late notice after the withdrawal of Fury, but it failed to catch the public's attention here and it helped Parker's team make their decision to fight abroad in the short term.
That might change now. Parker's promoter David Higgins has several irons in the fire - including potential fights against Japanese Kyotaro Fujimoto in Tokyo, Russian Alexander Povetkin in Moscow and Aussie Lucas Browne here or across the Ditch, but nothing is presenting as an obvious choice.
Depending on coach Kevin Barry's availability, it could be that Parker remains in New Zealand to train ahead of a fight here in February, a departure from his previous schedule which has seen him return to Las Vegas to train with Barry at the pair's base there.
"If I fight in New Zealand I'd like to fight someone that the public know about," Parker told the Herald on Sunday. "I'd like to have a good fight here. You can't really fight opponents that don't give you a good challenge in front of the New Zealand crowd - they want to see a good fight and a good event. If it's a good opponent, someone who will put up a good fight and who comes prepared, I'd like to fight back in New Zealand.
"It's my understanding that there's a lot of negotiations going on with a lot of teams. Nothing is locked in at the moment. There is a big possibility that it could be in New Zealand but there is also a big possibility that we could be fighting in the UK.
"We're still negotiation with Eddie Hearn's team [the promoter of Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte and Tony Bellew] and with other fighters. I just want to fight big fights - fights that people want to watch.
"I want to fight an opponent that people will go - 'damn, I want to see this fight'," he said. "Right now we have the opportunity to pick who we want, but if we pick a bum, they'll say, 'no, it's a waste of time'. If we pick someone good ... it's finding that right balance."
Parker, 25, also spoke of his frustration at the low offers coming from Hearn and other overseas promoters. Whyte, who lost to Joshua but who rocked the IBF, WBA and IBO world champion during their fight in London in 2015, would be a credible opponent for Parker and would have added value in building his profile in the UK, but Hearn's derisory financial offer has been knocked back by Parker's team.
"A lot of people are trying to low-ball us - they see we're from New Zealand so they try to offer us the smallest [share], and you see them offering other fighters without a belt big purses," Parker said. "We'd love to have things in place but they have to make sense to attract us. It's a little hard but we have to be patient."
In the meantime, Parker is spending time with his family, including daughter Elizabeth, who turns 1 on November 7.
He recently visited Samoa with his parents Dempsey and Sala and brother John, and said the break was doing him good.
"I'm pretty eager to be back to training but it's important to take time off and spend it with family. The body does need a break from training because if you overdo it you don't recover as well as you should."
On his to-do list will be viewing the fight between Joshua and Carlos Takam which takes place in Cardiff next Sunday. Parker beat Takam in a unanimous decision last year and said if the Frenchman turned up in good shape the fight could be an interesting one.
"He always comes prepared. It would have been better if he had more time to prepare - 12 days [isn't much]. But he's an opponent who could put up a good fight against anyone. I think Joshua will win. But you never know. That's why it's interesting - you never know what might happen."