Joseph Parker's promoter believes Wladimir Klitschko's decision to retire from professional boxing rather than fight Anthony Joshua a second time will help clear the way for his man to unify the world heavyweight titles.

Klitschko's defeat by Joshua at Wembley in April must be considered as one of the best heavyweight bouts in a generation, and a re-match - written into the Ukraine's contract - would have earned both men an enormous amount of money. The purse for their fight, an epic in which both men were knocked down only for the Englishman to win with an 11th-round knockout, was $40million.

Now Joshua is eyeing other opponents, most notably Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, and his own path has been made easier by the retirement of the 40-year-old Klitschko. Should Joshua, the WBA, IBF and IBO champion, and New Zealander Parker, the WBO holder, remain undefeated this year then a fight between the pair is possible in the United Kingdom as early as April. Previously it had been hinted that the pair could meet in the ring later next year - perhaps August.

Parker's next fight, the second defence of his title, is against Hughie Fury in Manchester on September 23.


"We want to unify, it's not just about holding on to one belt... and with Klitschko retiring it speeds up that process," David Higgins told the Herald. "It's conceivable that, as long as both guys keep winning, Joe and Joshua could collide in a stadium as big as Wembley as soon as April next year.

"There are also interesting opportunities around the world - there are guys like [Alexander] Povetkin in Russia and there's a Japanese heavyweight [Kyotaro Fujimoto] in the top 10 and I don't think any Japanese heavyweight has challenged for the world title so... you could break new ground in a city like Tokyo."

Higgins said he and Parker were not neglected the United States market, with American Deontay Wilder, the current WBC champion, also in the mix. Bob Arum, the veteran Las Vegas-based promoter with whom Duco have a close working relationship, recently signed what Higgins described as a "ground-breaking" and exciting deal with ESPN.

"Joe is a pay per view star in New Zealand, at home, but he's got work to do offshore," Higgins said. "Our job now is to make him a pay per view star in the UK and United states, one market at a time. To be a pay per view star in the UK you need to knock out Englishmen on British television. If Joe can beat Fury - a name known the world over in boxing circles - if he can put Fury on his back it's a turning point, the world is his oyster."

Higgins said his recent trips to London, where he met Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn, a man who also manages potential rivals Tony Bellew and Dillian Whyte, and Manchester, where he met the Furys, were extremely valuable.

"I had a series of business meetings, which Joseph didn't attend. There is misinformation out there that Joseph was meeting with Hearn and Haye, whatever, that was my job and we had some good discussions."

Chief among them would have been a fight against Joshua, but there is also a strong possibility that should Parker beat Fury his next opponent will be Tony Bellew in the United Kingdom on December 16.

A bout against the charismatic Bellew would probably catch the imagination even more than a Fury victory and would help boost Parker's profile before a mega-fight against Joshua.


"We see Joshua as beatable. He is deservedly seen as the man to beat and people will look at the size of him and the muscle. But there are little chinks in his armour. Klitschko put him on the canvas, our experts reckon he's slightly predictable. Joseph has never been off his feet, he's very quick, it's not about muscle."

Higgins added: "I want to play respect to Klitschko. Retiring is a hard call and it would have been tempting to take big, big money against Joshua again. It's wise and it's nice to see heavyweights base that decision on their own terms rather than being battered out with multiple losses in a row."