Oleksandr Usyk could fight Joseph Parker for vacant WBO belt, says New Zealander's manager
Joseph Parker's manager David Higgins: "If Anthony Joshua vacates, we would love to fight Usyk for the vacant title." New Zealander's team hope to be ranked higher than British heavyweight Joe Joyce
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 01/12/20 8:36pm
Joseph Parker's team have already staked their claim for a potential WBO title fight against Oleksandr Usyk, who is also being targeted by Joe Joyce.
The New Zealander and Joyce are jostling for position in their pursuit of Usyk, the current WBO mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua's WBO heavyweight belt.
Britain's unified champion defends his WBO, IBF and WBA belts against Kubrat Pulev on December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office, but his planned undisputed world title clash with Tyson Fury has been complicated by an impending WBO defence against Usyk.
"If AJ vacates, we would love to fight Usyk for the vacant title and it's a matter I've specifically discussed with [Usyk's team] Egis Klimas and Alexander Krassyuk," Parker's manager David Higgins told Sky Sports.
"They are good people, the team around Usyk. I've done business with Krassyuk before and he was straightforward to deal with. They said that they would like to see that fight happen and so would we.
"Joseph will be putting his hand up hard and fast and jump at any opportunity to fight for a title again.
"It's a matter of seeing how the cards fall with Joshua and the WBO, but we've already written to the WBO, putting forward our lobbying case. They have been wonderful to work with and they are one of the better sanctioning bodies. We hope that opportunity comes."
Parker is currently at No 3 in the WBO rankings, while the No 2 ranked Daniel Dubois suffered a knockout loss on Saturday against Joyce, who believes he should be a possible opponent for Usyk.
"Joe wants Usyk for the WBO belt," Joyce's manager Sam Jones told Sky Sports.
"If Joshua doesn't vacate, he has to fight Usyk.
"I hope Joshua does vacate and we'll fight Usyk - Joe is very confident in that fight as well.
"Rightfully, Joe should take Dubois' No 2 slot [in the WBO rankings].
"If the belt becomes vacant, Usyk would have to fight Joe for the title."
But Higgins is hopeful that Parker's status as a former WBO champion and his record of opponents will be taken into consideration by the WBO when they update their rankings.
Parker is currently training for a rescheduled fight with fellow Kiwi Junior Fa, another rival WBO contender who is positioned at no 6.
"I think Joseph has got excellent credentials if he wins to go back to number two," said Higgins.
"If you tally up his activity, his history with the WBO, the opponents on his resume and his credentials. Should he beat Junior Fa, it would be hard not to see him going back to number two. Who else is in that top 10?
"We'll obviously be lobbying and we hope the good people at the WBO, their ratings committee will acknowledge that. That's in their hands, but it was a good win for Joyce at the weekend, a hard-working boxer and he deserves the win.
"I think the ratings committee have to weigh up everything, including some of the factors I have just mentioned.
"Dubois was sort of untested before that fight. If you look at the opponents Dubois has fought, so Joyce was probably the biggest test for him yet. He didn't come through, so the question becomes who is more deserving of the ranking? Joe Joyce or Joseph Parker.
"If you look at the resume, you can build a strong case around Joseph. Joseph will fight anyone, including Joe Joyce."
Parker awaits clash with Kiwi rival
Fa was forced to withdraw from a December fight against Parker due to an abnormality in a blood test and has since undergone surgery.
"Joseph is continuing to train and patiently waiting for the rescheduled date to be set," said Higgins. "Everyone is working towards rescheduling as soon as possible. I expect it to be the same venue late February.
"My understanding is that he had an operation on Tuesday last week and there were no complications and he's making a good recovery. It's up to him to comment further on that. We'll probably do an announcement soon to confirm the new date and then he could talk about that."