Wladimir Klitschko's likely decision to pull out of his proposed bout with Anthony Joshua should strengthen Joseph Parker's bid to hold a heavyweight world title fight in Auckland against Andy Ruiz Jr.

Parker's promoters Dean Lonergan and David Higgins are currently in Las Angeles stitching together a deal with Ruiz Jr's promoter Bob Arum for a fight in December, and the New Zealand pair will fly to the WBO convention in Puerto Rico tonight believing their position has been helped by the stalled negotiations between Klitschko and Joshua.

"I would certainly hope that would be the case," Lonergan told the Herald this morning.

"In a perfect world the WBO will sanction the Parker v Ruiz Jr fight for the world title.
Discussions are going very well with Bob."


Just as it appeared the deal was done for Klitschko and Joshua to fight in Manchester in December, a sanctioning issue appears likely to break it. Klitschko is unwilling to fight Joshua, the IBF title holder, unless the vacant WBA belt is also on the line, and Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn fears the bout is off.

The consensus is that Klitschko will instead take what would be considered an easier fight against Australian Lucas Browne.

As No1 contender to the vacant WBO world title formerly held by Tyson Fury, who also held the WBA title, Parker should be free to fight the next highest-ranked available contender, which would be the Ruiz Jr, No3 with the WBO.

WBO officials, including president Francisco Varcarcel, have suggested a four-way box-off for the title between Parker, Ruiz Jr, Klitschko and Joshua, but with the Ukrainian former champion looking at a Browne fight, that idea seems doomed to failure.

"It looks like Klitschko will take the soft option rather than taking on one of the young lions of the division in Anthony Joshua," Lonergan said. "I haven't spoken to [manager] Bernd Bonte, so it looks like he doesn't want to fight another young lion in Joseph Parker.
"If Klitschko does fight Browne, it would obviously be great for Australasian boxing, and I believe Browne is a good chance to knock him out."

Klitschko's stalling tactics have caught Hearn in a potentially difficult situation. He is committed to holding an event at the Manchester Arena on December 10 - the same date proposed for the Parker v Ruiz Jr fight - so must now also enter negotiations for a different opponent for Joshua.

Hearn said in an interview that Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev is in the frame, as are "a couple of Americans".

"We're happy to move ahead with the IBF on the line, but Wladimir wants to fight for the WBA and we're waiting for that sanction," a frustrated Hearn said in an interview.

"I've heard from a couple of sources that they're looking at other opponents for that date which is disappointing.

"To be honest with you, if you don't sanction this fight between Klitschko and Joshua, what are you even in the game for?"