Win or lose, US beck­ons Parker

Sunday News - - BOXING - DUN­CAN JOHN­STONE IN MANCH­ESTER

NEW Zealand heavy­weight Joseph Parker will be kept busy, hop­ing to squeeze an­other fight in this year, though get­ting the ap­pro­pri­ate op­po­nent to achieve that could be com­pli­cated.

Parker is de­fend­ing his WBO world heavy­weight ti­tle against Bri­tain’s Hughie Fury in Manch­ester this morn­ing.

Win or lose, Parker is adamant the show must go on.

A vic­tory sets up a mas­sive pay day in Bri­tain. A loss means a po­ten­tially lengthy and costly re­build to get him back into the top frame.

The busy Bri­tish scene hasn’t stood still and two po­ten­tial op­po­nents for Parker if his arm is raised in vic­tory, Tony Bellew and David Haye, are set for a heated re­match in Lon­don on De­cem­ber 17, tak­ing them out of the equa­tion.

That fight would be seen as an elim­i­na­tor with the win­ner to chal­lenge Parker for his ti­tle with the fight af­ter that be­ing a uni­fi­ca­tion bout with WBA and IBF cham­pion An­thony Joshua, pro­vid­ing he beats Kubrat Pulev in his manda­tory de­fence next month.

There are a lot of ifs and buts around the fluid heavy­weight di­vi­sion right now.

Big talk­ing and bruis­ing Brit Dil­lian Whyte is an­other lu­cra­tive op­tion though he may not be ready un­til Jan­uary.

With the Fury fight be­ing a manda­tory, there is no re­match clause and that seems un­likely.

If the UK mar­ket has no va­can­cies, then Parker could eas­ily look to the United States where Duco’s co-pro­moter, Top Rank leg­end Bob Arum, is ea­ger to see the Kiwi en­hance his pro­file in that im­por­tant mar­ket.

Resur­gent Amer­i­can heavy­weight con­tender Bryant Jen­nings is now on Arum’s books and would be a fight Parker cer­tainly wouldn’t ig­nore un­der the right cir­cum­stances.

The main thing is, he wants to keep busy. The pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions to get the Fury fight hap­pen­ing have seen him in the MARK ROBIN­SON/PHOTOSPORT ring just twice this year, when he is used to fight­ing five times an­nu­ally.

He will re­turn to Auck­land to see his baby daugh­ter for a break and then hit the gym in Las Ve­gas again, ide­ally lac­ing up his fight gloves again for a De­cem­ber bout.

The same the­ory ap­plies if he lost his un­beaten record to Fury. Duco’s plan has al­ways been ‘‘to MATTHEW IMPEY/PHOTOSPORT

‘ I think it’s a good heavy­weight di­vi­sion right now’ TRAINER PETER FURY

jump back on the horse straight away’’.

But that could mean a lesser class of op­po­nent and even re­turn­ing to New Zealand to re­build the foun­da­tions where the 25-year-old Parker has made his name dur­ing a 23-0 ca­reer.

Peter Fury, the clever trainer in charge of his son Hughie for this ti­tle fight, said there would be no shame for who­ever lost their un­beaten record in Manch­ester and in­sisted both fight­ers were young enough to re­bound.

‘‘Ab­so­lutely, that’s all about who makes the mis­takes and learns from them,’’ Fury said.

‘‘Ev­ery­one goes on about the ‘0’ and be­ing un­beaten, but it doesn’t mean any­thing. Did Muham­mad Ali come back from it? Did the great­est fighter of all time come back from it? Of course he did.

‘‘You wipe your­self down and go back in the gym, you’re a fighter. These guys are both young heavy­weights, they don’t re­ally come into their own un­til they’re 28 to 30 years old. They have all to gain and noth­ing to lose re­ally.

‘‘I think it’s a good heavy­weight di­vi­sion right now, it’s red-hot and there are some good fight­ers out there.’’

Joseph Parker in Lon­don ahead of his WBOheavy­weight box­ing ti­tle de­fence.

Hughie Fury at the weigh-in for his fight against Jospeh Parker.

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