Joseph Parker could beat Derek Chisora in the race for Oleksandr Usyk as the New Zealander is lining up a fight against the Ukrainian, if the WBO belt becomes vacant.
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The British heavyweight has been holding talks over a fight against Usyk, who is the WBO mandatory challenger, but the Kiwi’s manager David Higgins has attended this week’s WBO convention in a bid to push Parker into position for a possible WBO title fight.
Andy Ruiz Jr defends the WBO belt, along with the WBA ‘super’ and IBF straps in Saturday’s rematch with Anthony Joshua, live on Sky Sports Box Office, but one of the titles could become vacant in the aftermath of the fight due to commitments for mandatory defences.
Asked about Parker’s next move, Higgins told Sky Sports: “Usyk has been acknowledged as the mandatory for the WBO and rightly so, he’s one of the pound-for-pound best in the world. Unified at cruiserweight, so we don’t question that.
“But it’s possible that WBO title could vacate and as I said at the conference, if that title vacates, then Joseph Parker is possibly the next available ranked fighter and could challenge Usyk to fight off for the vacant title.
“If you recall, that’s how Joseph won the heavyweight title, fighting off against Ruiz. History might repeat.
“If the cards fall the right way, we could potentially have Parker challenging again for a world title, as soon as next year perhaps.”
Parker is currently ranked at No 4 by the WBO, just behind Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and No 1 placed Usyk, and Higgins believes he fully deserves to face Usyk, despite the efforts of manager David Haye to secure the fight for Chisora.
Higgins said: “David Haye is quite Machiavellian and so I’m sure he will be scheming away on what the next steps are, so Joseph Parker will just worry about his own journey and I think most people would agree that Parker would be more deserving of a shot against Usyk than Chisora.
“I can’t see how on merit they would give Chisora a shot anyway when Parker is at four?
“Usyk could fight Chisora not for the title. But that would be a bit risky for Usyk, he’s sitting on a mandatory.
“It’s about more than money, it’s about winning the title. Would Usyk want to risk that against Chisora in a fight that’s less meaning than a title fight?
“I’m not sure we will see Chisora-Usyk next year. It will be interesting to see what happens.”
Parker originally claimed the vacant WBO title in 2016 with a points win over Ruiz Jr and Higgins admits a rematch would be another exciting option, if the Mexican defeats Joshua again in Saudi Arabia.
“It’s very intriguing timing for Joseph, because he’s the only man on planet earth to have beaten Andy Ruiz Jr as a professional. Some people question that, but even Ruiz’s promoter at the time, Bob Arum, acknowledged that Parker won the fight.