Joseph Parker may target WBO title if Anthony Joshua date slips
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 30/09/16 10:15am
Joseph Parker may target a WBO heavyweight title fight if he is not granted a mandatory shot at IBF champion Anthony Joshua in November, says the New Zealander's promoter.
Parker was last week considered the favourite to face Joshua on November 26 at Manchester Arena, but Tyson Fury's withdrawal from his WBO and WBA title defence against Wladimir Klitschko due to a medical condition could drastically change the heavyweight picture.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has been holding talks about a replacement fight between Joshua and Klitschko while they wait to see if Fury will be stripped of his belts, and Parker's promotional team have also discussed an alternative WBO clash with Andy Ruiz Jr.
Dean Lonergan, Parker's promoter, remains open to a "massive fight" with Joshua but will hold further talks with Top Rank's Bob Arum as he waits for confirmation of the IBF title holder's future plans.
Lonergan exclusively told Sky Sports: "I spoke to [Top Rank matchmaker] Bruce Trampler today who informed me that Andy Ruiz Jr, his trainer, and his promoter Bob Arum are all keen to have Andy fight Joseph Parker for the WBO title, should Tyson Fury be stripped.
"I am going to speak with Bob Arum and Bruce Trampler on Saturday to progress the Andy Ruiz talks to the point where a deal can be done."
Parker must firstly come through Saturday's fight with Alexander Dimitrenko, which will be shown on Sky Sports, and victory could lead to a historic fight on home soil.
The 24-year-old is the WBO's no 1 contender, with Ruiz Jr ranked at No 3, and Lonergan is weighing up the prospect of a world title fight in New Zealand.
This would be a historic moment in New Zealand sporting history and something that is growing more appealing by the day.
Dean Lonergan on Joseph Parker
"In 120 years of heavyweight boxing, a New Zealand-born fighter has never fought for a world title on his home soil," said Lonergan. "This would be a historic moment in New Zealand sporting history and something that is growing more appealing by the day.
"Joseph Parker remains the mandatory to fight Anthony Joshua and we believe that would be a massive fight. But the opportunity to make sporting history by bringing the first world heavyweight title fight to New Zealand is hugely enticing.
Sky to show Parker fight
Joseph Parker's next fight with Alexander Dimitrenko will be shown on Sky Sports
"There are a number of options on the table which I have to explore on behalf of Joseph Parker and Duco promotions."
Hearn admits it is "impossible" to predict what will happen next in the division, although he is aware that Parker could switch his sights to the WBO belt.
It's impossible to tell you how things are going to play out - Parker is number one in the WBO also so could fight for that title if it becomes available.
He told Sky Sports: "To be honest anything can happen right now in the heavyweight division!
"It's impossible to tell you how things are going to play out - Parker is number one in the WBO also so could fight for that title if it becomes available. Let's see what tomorrow brings!"
Watch the Parker v Dimitrenko fight in full from 8pm, on Sky Sports 2 on Saturday, before we go live to Germany to show Braehmer v Cleverly.