New Zealand’s Joseph Parker retained his WBO heavyweight title for the second time last night in Manchester, closely outpointing unbeaten mandatory challenger Hughie Fury via 12 round majority verdict. The result did not in any way please Team-Fury (more about that later) but Parker, who deserves credit for having agreed to fight in Manchester after the fight was originally postponed from May, in New Zealand, now looks ahead.
Parker wants the big, big fights and he has the fighting attitude needed to get in there with anyone. Parker, 24-0(18) may not be seen as the best heavyweight out there but his attitude is refreshing. And in terms of which big fight the WBO champ might get next, his promoter Dave Higgins, speaking in the post-fight dressing room, as quoted by The Express, listed a few possible options.
“If the Joshua fight is going to sell 100,000 – which it would, the unification – you want it in the English summer, so probably July,” Higgins said. “I think it makes sense as long as both guys keep winning. Eddie Hearn has reached out and put that on the table.”
Higgins added how Parker very much wants to remain active, and fight again before the end of the year – with “good options such as Japan, the United States or New Zealand” – but that it could be either Joshua, the winner of Tony Bellew-David Haye II, or even Tyson Fury next year.
Joshua has his hands full for the time being, with an IBF mandatory defence against Kubrat Pulev in October and then an expected WBA mandatory defence after that, but it is conceivable AJ would be able to fight Parker in the summer. And Parker against either Bellew or Haye would or course sell, as would a Parker-Fury clash.
Speaking of former heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, he clambered into the ring at the conclusion of last night’s fight, furious over the decision that went against his cousin. Fury was captured on film pointing his finger and shouting at BBB of C head Robert Smith – either about the decision (which of course Smith had zero control over) or perhaps about his own current situation; still waiting as he is for his hearing regarding his suspension for a failed drugs test.
Fury, looking as bloated as ever, says he wants to fight again, but until he both obtains a license and loses what looks like an excess 50 pounds or so at least, he simply cannot do so.
Still, Higgins spoke briefly about the possibility of a Parker-Fury fight:
“If Tyson Fury makes a comeback and Eddie [Hearn] doesn’t give us a fair deal, we could be at Old Trafford against Tyson Fury,” Higgins said.
Normally, this would be a fight we could now be getting excited about, but with Tyson’s current situation, can we really look at this as a realistic fight for any time soon?