Joseph Parker dreams of one day being world heavyweight boxing champion and he took a step closer after the World Boxing Organisation ranked him the No 1 contender.
The WBO listed Parker as the No 1 contender to champion Tyson Fury in their latest rankings, ahead of the UK's Anthony Joshua and former champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Parker's trainer Kevin Barry tweeted out the news this afternoon when he said: "As of today Joseph Parker is now ranked #1 with the WBO #TEAMPARKER."
The 24-year-old, who has an umblemished 18-0 record as a professional, is listed at No 7 by both the WBC and IBF and 11 on the WBA.
Parker's handlers believe Parker will be in a position where he is the mandatory contender for a world title, and believe it could come in less than 12 months. A fortnight ago he beat American Jason Bergman in an eighth-round technical knockout in Apia and Duco's Dean Lonergan immediately said Fury and American Charles Martin were both in his sights.
Fury, the WBO and WBA champion, is taking up a re-match clause against Wladimir Klitschko, so that path is potentially more complicated than the IBF championship held by the little-known Martin who recently beat Vyacheslav Glazkov for the vacant title when the Ukrainian suffered a knee injury in the third round.
Parker's next fight will be in Christchurch in late April before another in New Zealand - venue yet to be announced - in July. Neither of Parker's opponents has been confirmed, but Lonergan said they would be a step up. Duco will also be working to expose Parker to the UK market and there has been some verbal sparring with Joshua's camp.
"In England, boxing is hot ... but we think Joseph Parker could reinvigorate the heavyweight division in America," Lonergan said. "In a perfect world I'd love to see Joseph Parker become the house fighter at the MGM Grand and that's something we'd like to move towards in the near future."
Lonergan said Parker would fight five times in the next 12 months, a schedule he would keep to should he win a world title.