Dead­line set for Parker’s ti­tle fight

The Dominion Post - - Sport - BOX­ING

have a tough job, but they have the play­ers to move us on from where we are and take us one step fur­ther.’’

At no point dur­ing the tour­na­ment did Eng­land’s play­ers feel there was a de­fined plan, as Hodg­son made change af­ter change and gam­bled on line­ups and for­ma­tions he had never pre­vi­ously tested.

His roll of the dice against Wales, when Hodg­son threw all his strik­ers on, worked out but it did not par­tic­u­larly kid any­one around the camp who knew he had sim­ply got lucky.

As the Ice­land game dragged on a num­ber of Eng­land’s play­ers flashed puz­zled looks to­wards the bench as Hodg­son at­tempted to dish out in­struc­tions. Rooney would not have been im­pressed watch­ing Gary Cahill moved into a makeshift cen­tre for­ward role af­ter the coun­try’s record goalscorer had been taken off.

Other than his team se­lec­tions, Hodg­son made a se­ries of other strange de­ci­sions that have since raised serious ques­tions about his man­age­ment.

Hodg­son and Lew­ing­ton spent one of their days off in Paris and took a boat trip down the River Seine be­fore re­turn­ing to the team ho­tel to watch Ice­land beat Aus­tria on tele­vi­sion. It is baf­fling, given the game that set up the last-16 clash with Eng­land was played only 30 min­utes from his ho­tel, that Hodg­son did not at­tend in per­son and in­stead watched Ice­land on a big screen.

Neville, goal­keep­ing coach Dave Wat­son, per­for­mance anal­y­sis man­ager Andy Scould­ing and two Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion scouts were at the match and cel­e­brated Ice­land’s late goal that meant Eng­land did not have to face Por­tu­gal. That de­light ended up be­ing mis­placed.

Much of Eng­land’s prepa­ra­tion for games at Euro 2016 fo­cused around ‘shadow play’ with two sets of play­ers lin­ing up against each other in drills that soon be­came repet­i­tive to those used to more imag­i­na­tive ses­sions.

It was the idea of se­nior play­ers to pass around a cud­dly lion, which even had its own tour­na­ment ac­cred­i­ta­tion, as a for­feit for mishaps at the train­ing ground or team ho­tel.

Hodg­son and the FA would never have en­vis­aged that more than 20 toy lions would have been needed to cover those at fault in France.

Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, this was Hodg­son’s fail­ure.

No­body knew what he was do­ing, in­clud­ing it seems, the man him­self. Joseph Parker’s po­ten­tial ti­tle fight with An­thony Joshua con­tin­ues to take shape with the IBF in­sist­ing the Bri­tish heavy­weight take on his manda­tory chal­lenger be­fore Jan­uary 9.

Joshua suc­cess­fully de­fended his IBF crown for the first time on Sun­day with an im­pres­sive seventh-round stop­page of Amer­i­can Do­minic Breazeale, ex­tend­ing his record to 17 knock­out vic­to­ries from 17 fights.

Fol­low­ing the vic­tory, Joshua said he had no prob­lem step­ping in the ring with Parker, who be­came the manda­tory chal­lenger last month when he recorded a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion over rugged French­man Car­los Takam.

Pro­moter Ed­die Hearn also ex­pressed his de­sire to pair the un­beaten fight­ers for Joshua’s next out­ing in Novem­ber.

And the IBF is deter­mined to see the bout go ahead.

‘‘We will no­tify An­thony Joshua that he must fight manda­tory chal­lenger Joseph Parker on Novem­ber 9, 2016. The manda­tory due date is Jan­uary 9, 2017,’’ the or­gan­i­sa­tion told Box­ing News.

The Novem­ber 9 date is when Joshua and Parker have to start ne­go­ti­at­ing their bout by, with Jan­uary 9 the dead­line for fight night.

Parker is cur­rently prepar­ing for his fight against for­mer rugby league player Solomon Hau­mono in Christchurch next month.

IBF rules state a deal must be made within 30 days of the cham­pion be­ing no­ti­fied of their manda­tory obli­ga­tion. In Joshua’s case, that means a date must be in place by De­cem­ber 9 or the fight will go to a purse bid, where the Jan­uary dead­line is un­likely to be met.

The other fac­tor which could force a de­lay is if Joshua opts for a uni­fi­ca­tion fight, which can take prece­dence over a manda­tory obli­ga­tion and po­ten­tial block­busters against WBC cham­pion Deon­tay Wilder or WBO and WBA ti­tle­holder Tyson Fury have both been men­tioned.

A show­down with fel­low Brit Fury, in par­tic­u­lar, would gen­er­ate mas­sive at­ten­tion in the United King­dom.

How­ever, Fury’s short-term fu­ture has been clouded by an an­kle in­jury that forced him to post­pone his re­match against Wladimir Kl­itschko.

Roy Hodg­son, left, dishes out in­struc­tions from the side­line, to the ap­par­ent con­fu­sion of his as­sis­tant Gary Neville, dur­ing the loss to Ice­land.

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