New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker’s next fight could be back on home soil.
Parker relinqueshed his WBO world title belt by unanimous points decision to undefeated Englishman Anthony Joshua in Cardiff early last month, the first loss of his 25-fight professional career.
After a holiday in Samoa, the 26-year-old is back in Auckland “running every day” and has begun plotting his next move with promoter David Higgins.
Parker hoped to have his next fight in late July or early August and Higgins said it is a 50-50 prospect whether it is held in New Zealand, where his last bout was his first title defence against Razvan Cojanu in May last year, or the UK.
“The absence of a good opportunity in the UK would necessitate looking at New Zealand and whether we can mount a credible promotion here with a big name opponent.”
As well as also ruling out a fight in the US “just yet”, Higgins revealed a boxer with size and strong credentials was the likely next opponent for his fighter.
Higgins said they were talking seriously to “one or two” opponents, would ideally have their next move confirmed within two weeks and had a clear idea what they wanted.
“[Joseph’s next opponent] is someone that’s big and tall, because a lot of the top guys are big and tall and he can learn from his mistakes [against Joshua].
“It’s ideally someone in the top 15 or top 10 of the sanctioning bodies and someone with a name that’s promotable.”
Not wanting to “weaken” their negotiating position with the potential opponents they were talking to, Higgins did not want to reveal who exactly was in the mix to face Parker next.
He did reiterate, though, their desire for a re-match down the track with Joshua, who is locked in negotiations with American fighter Deontay Wilder for a bout that would be for all four major heavyweight belts and make the winner the undisputed world champion.
The Duco Events director felt a fight with Alexander Povetkin, the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s WBA and WBO belts, was unlikely given the highly-rated Russian was probably “tied up already”.
Higgins also stated his belief outspoken Brit Dillian Whyte, who intends to challenge the ruling he is not the mandatory to Wilder’s WBC belt, wouldn’t fight Parker.
As for the likelihood of a match-up against the winner of the much-anticipated heavyweight clash between David Haye and Tony Bellew in Liverpool this weekend, he said they could be keen to fight either, if they were also game.
“Look, I don’t think either would be willing to fight Joseph because they’d be worried about losing,” Higgins said of the much-anticipated re-match between former world champion Haye and fellow Brit Bellew.
“But I think we’d be willing to fight the winner or the loser [of that fight].”
Parker is expected to remain in Auckland until his next fight is announced, when he will head back to his Las Vegas training base and begin preparations with Barry.