Parker warns Joyce: Don’t get comfortable

Joseph Parker’s manager David Higgins insists the heavyweight from New Zealand will regain his position in the rankings and fight for a world title again: “It’s an interesting question, but we would hope to go back to No 2.”

Last Updated: 27/12/20 10:35pm

Joseph Parker is a former WBO heavyweight champion
Joseph Parker is a former WBO heavyweight champion

Joe Joyce has been warned “don’t get comfortable” in the WBO rankings by Joseph Parker’s manager David Higgins as they jostle for position in the hunt for a world title fight.

Joyce replaced Daniel Dubois at No 2 in the WBO rankings after an impressive knockout win over his British heavyweight rival last month, while Parker sits just behind at No 3.

But Parker, with a victory over fellow New Zealander Junior Fa in February, should enter the top two according to his manager Higgins who told Sky Sports: “You have to look at the resumes of the two fighters [Parker and Joyce].

Joe Joyce became WBO No 2 contender by stopping Daniel Dubois
Joe Joyce became WBO No 2 contender by stopping Daniel Dubois
Joyce halted Dubois in the 10th round
Joyce halted Dubois in the 10th round

“Joseph Parker is a former WBO world champion. He has got some wins on his resume, including Carlos Takam, Andy Ruiz and Alexander Dimitrenko.

“He took Anthony Joshua the distance. If Joe beats Junior Fa – and remember Fa is the current WBO No 6 – so if Joe beats Fa, I think on balance of the evidence, he would have to go to No 2.

“But obviously we would lobby the good people of the WBO and that would be at the discretion of their ratings committee.

“It’s an interesting question, but we would hope to go back to No 2.”

The No 1 ranked Oleksandr Usyk is the mandatory challenger for the WBO title held by Joshua, who is in talks to fight Tyson Fury in 2021, in a battle to decide the division’s undisputed ruler.

Contenders are lining up in case Joshua is forced to vacate his WBO belt in order to push through a fight with Fury, with the WBO eager to enforce Usyk’s mandatory right as Joshua’s next fight.

Parker will fight Junior Fa in February
Parker will fight Junior Fa in February
Parker and Fa shared four amateur fights, winning two each
Parker and Fa shared four amateur fights, winning two each

WBO president Paco Valcarcel recently tweeted: “[Promoter] Eddie Hearn knows the meaning of commitment.”

In the event of the belt being vacated it would then be contested between the top two ranked heavyweights, which is Usyk and Joyce at the moment.

But Parker’s manager Higgins warned Joyce: “Don’t get too comfortable, and Parker has shown that he will fight anyone.

“He has never shied away. Jumped in with Dillian Whyte, straight after Joshua on a short camp, and he’s happy to fight Whyte again.

“The same goes for any of the names Joseph would fight.”

Parker fought Joshua in a title unification fight
Parker fought Joshua in a title unification fight

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Watch Joseph Parker’s most recent KO
Watch Joseph Parker’s most recent KO

Joyce’s manager Sam Jones previously told Sky Sports: “I hope Joshua does vacate and we’ll fight Usyk – Joe is very confident in that fight as well.”

Joshua has not yet indicated he would vacate the WBO belt.

Usyk’s co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk, who works alongside Hearn, told Sky Sports: “My prediction, my plan and our strategy is to make AJ vs Usyk in April or May 2021.

“This is the WBO who has the power to enforce the champion for the mandatory.

“Though everyone wants to see AJ fighting Fury I don’t feel this fight is likely to happen soon.”

Source : Sky Sports