The WBO have ruled out handing interim title status to Joseph Parker’s fight against Dillian Whyte in a blow to the Kiwi heavyweight boxer’s hopes of fast-tracking his way back to a world title shot.
Parker and Whyte clash in London July 29 (NZT).
English promoter Eddie Hearn has labelled it “the people’s eliminator” but his hopes to give the juicy fight some formal status now appear forlorn.
“Please be advised the WBO does not sanction interim championships except, under extraordinary circumstances which currently, are not present in the heavyweight division,” WBO president Paco Valcarcel told World Boxing News in a statement as they sought some clarity over the situation.
The road back to another crack at Anthony Joshua could be a lengthy one for the 26-year-old Parker.
The WBO have their No 1 Alexander Povetkin eyeing a clash with Joshua, the unified champion. Povetkin is also No 1 with the WBA, putting him in the prime position if Joshua is forced to take on a mandatory fight while he waits to settle terms for the long-awaited clash with American Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion who has the one belt that Joshua doesn’t own.
There’s also the messy situation with Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev who was forced out of his title fight against Joshua late last year because of injury and still holds claims to getting a chance against the big Brit.
Pulev is currently fuming over being stood up by Whyte. They were set for an IBF eliminator in August but Whyte and Hearn got cold feet over the arrangements being made for the fight in Bulgaria and changed direction to take on Parker in a move that has surprised the whole division.
Whyte at No 2 with the WBO and Parker at No 6 and also their immediate past champion, have claims to make this a fight of significance for the organisation.
It will now be a matter of putting the gloves on, fighting, and seeing where the rankings fall in the aftermath.
Whyte has the most to lose if he is beaten by Parker. Whyte also sits at No 1 with the WBC where Parker has been placed at No 6.
For now, Parker is simply thrilled to rebound into a lucrative and exciting fight against the aggressive Whyte.
It’s a risk given Whyte’s building form and comfort in the venue at the O2 Arena which is virtually in the Brixton fighter’s back yard.
Having had two mixed performances in the UK, Parker is eager to finally show his true worth and knows success against Whyte will keep the door open to what is now the hotbed of the heavyweight scene.
There’s Tyson Fury on the comeback and the Manchester monster represents a realistic option if Parker can get back to his winning ways.
Team Parker still hold good relations with the Fury camp, including Parker’s strong friendship with “The Gypsy King”.
Parker says he is delighted to see Fury finally make his long-awaited comeback and reiterated his desire to fight him if that’s the way things fall.
“I feel like it is great for the division because he brings this excitement with the character that he has. He mocks you and mocks you. I am glad he is back,” Parker told BoxingScene.
“I think he just says whatever he wants to say or whatever comes to his mind. I don’t think he really thinks about it. You can’t blame him though. He still thinks he is the best and that he beat the champ. If I had the opportunity to fight him I would love to fight him.
“It could be a great option. He is one of the best in our era and hopefully he can get back to what he was before.”