Joseph Parker – Razvan Cojanu today

WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) was outweighed by 29 pounds by his contender Razvan Cojanu (16-2, 9 KOs) at Friday’s weigh-in for their clash this Saturday night at the Vector Arena, in Auckland, New Zealand. Parker weighed 245.8 pounds. Cojanu weighed 274.6 lbs.

The 30-year-old challenger Cojanu, who is listed at 6’7 ½”, did not look in the greatest condition for the fight, but he was pulled in as a last minute replacement after the original opponent Hughie Fury pulled out of the fight because of a back injury.

Cojanu looked little more than 2 inches taller than the 6’4” Parker instead 3 ½” inches, which is what you would expect for someone that is supposed to be 6’7 ½”.

Parker, 25, recently won the vacant World Boxing Organization heavyweight title last December by beating Andy Ruiz Jr. by a questionable 12 round majority decision in Auckland, New Zealand. A lot of fans that saw that fight felt that Ruiz Jr. had done enough to win the fight by at least 4 rounds, because he had been getting the better of Parker with his superior hand speed. Ruiz Jr. appeared to win the first 6 rounds, and at least 2 of the last 6. But you know how it goes for fighters that are visiting another country. You have to assume that they start out 4 rounds behind on the scorecard already.

Parker has a big power and talent advantage of Cojanu in this fight. This is going to be a tough one for Cojanu for him to try and pull off an upset. Cojanu was poleaxed by Donovan Dennis in getting knocked out in 2 rounds in 2015. Dennis is a good puncher, but he’s not a contender. Cojanu losing to Dennis gives you a pretty good idea of what kind of mismatch we have on our hands this Saturday night.

Parker is going to be able to end this fight an time he wants. The good news is that once Cojanu loses, the World Boxing Organization will be able to straighten out there top 15 rankings afterwards. Cojanu looks a little out of place at the No.14 spot in the WBO’s rankings. Cojanu does have good punching power, and there is a chance that he could score a knockout if he swings for the fences.

Cojanu’s best chance of winning is to go after Parker immediately and try and bang him out in the 1st round. Unfortunately for Cojanu, he doesn’t have the greatest chin in the heavyweight division. If he doesn’t knockout Parker in 2 rounds, we’re likely to see Cojanu knocked out quickly like he was against Donovan Dennis.

A win for Parker on Saturday against Cojanu could lead to a bigger fight against either Anthony Joshua or Tony Bellew. Parker will need to travel to the UK to fight his next match, because neither of those fighters is going to come to New Zealand. Facing Joshua would be an ideal fight for Parker. He can make good money in that fight. It might not be as big a fight as the recent Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko fight, but it would still be a good match-up for the British boxing fans.

Parker has a lot of boxing fans looking forward to him facing Joshua in a unification fight next. That match might not come next, however. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is also interested in having Tony Bellew fight Parker. Bellew just defeated former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye by an 11th round knockout on March 4 in the UK. The fight generated a lot of interest with the British boxing fans.

Parker vs. Bellew would likely be a big fight as well. The winner would then face Joshua in a big money match. It’s a good way of building up an eventual Joshua vs. Parker or Joshua vs. Bellew fight. Parker would be a heavy favorite against Bellew. It would a nice win for Bellew over Haye, but he might not have gotten the victory if not for Haye being injured.

Parker is in his prime at 25, and not likely to suffer an identical debilitating injury that would allow the 34-year-old Bellew to capitalize on the situation in the same way. For that reason, you have to see the Parker-Bellew fight as a slam dunk win for Parker. It’s not whether Parker will win the fight, but how badly he’ll win.

“We love fighting in New Zealand; we love the support but it’s going to be our farewell fight and we’re going to make it a good one,” said Parker to “The weight is good. I feel like I am sitting down on my punches and throwing hard and fast so I’m looking forward to putting on that display tomorrow night. This is probably our last fight in New Zealand for a long time so we want to say goodbye.”

Other weights on the card:

Umar Salamov 174.8 vs. Emil Markic 174.6

George Kambosos Jr 134 vs. Qamil Balla 134.5

Jerome Pascua ? vs. Joshua Hatherley 163.5

Ivana Siau 161.8 vs. Tim Tszyu 160

Jordan Tuigamala 186.9 vs. Nigel Elliott 186.5

John Parker 196.4 vs. Ratu Dawai 187.1