Joseph Parker's team are open to the idea of travelling to Russia to fight Alexander Povetkin next year in a world title bout despite the risks such a journey could bring to the New Zealander and his WBO belt.

The promoters of Povetkin, a Russian who has lost only once in 33 professional fights (by points to Wladimir Klitschko) have launched an ambitious plan for a potential world title clash against Parker in Yekaterinburg, a city of 1.3 million people east of the Ural mountains.

The fight would take place alongside one of the world's biggest trade fairs.

First, Povetkin must beat Christian Hammer on December 15 in what is effectively a WBO eliminator.


Should Povetkin, 38, who has twice tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, beat German Hammer, who has a 22-4 professional record, then he could become the next mandatory challenger to Parker's title.

"He has to win the fight against Hammer first and a lot can happen in the meantime," Parker's promoter David Higgins told the Herald on Sunday. "If the terms were right, we'd consider Povetkin."

Povetkin has already been talked about as a potential opponent by Higgins, and the fighter's promoters appear keen to close on a deal as soon as possible.

"We do not want a one-time fight for Povetkin. We want to make a showdown with Parker in July 2018 under the international exhibition Innoprom [an annual world trade fair] in Yekaterinburg," Alexei Titov told Russian news agency Tass. "This is a big fight for Russia, for Alexander. These are the plans, the long-term perspective. Alexander deserves to become a world champion."

It must be assumed that the terms would need to be very good for Parker to make the trip, as the risks associated with such a journey are considerable. Povetkin is a world-class fighter despite his advancing years, and while travelling to Manchester to fight Hughie Fury was relatively risky for Parker, going to Yekaterinburg, a 2-hour flight east of Moscow, would be another level.

"That exists everywhere," Higgins said of the potential risks. "People can get carried away by Russia."

There is a feeling, too, that Povetkin has faded since his prime of three or four years ago, when he went the distance against Klistchko in Moscow and knocked out Carlos Takam a year later in the same city.

Parker wasn't able to do that against Takam in Auckland last year, and IBF and WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua struggled before stopping Takam in the 10th round in Cardiff last weekend.