By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker might be flanked by an even bigger heavyweight when he walks to the ring for his showdown with Anthony Joshua.
Parker showed some gamesmanship by suggesting Tuesday that he might ask former heavyweight champ Tyson Fury to make the long walk with him from his dressing room to the ring March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Fury, Joshua’s biggest British rival, has routinely talked trash to the unbeaten knockout artist since announcing he’ll make his comeback.
“I might give him a text and say, ‘Bro, do you want to walk in with me?’, ” Parker told London’s Daily Mail. “He may just walk in with me or he may just sit in the front row and watch the fight. But I know I have a lot of support from Tyson, which is awesome.”
It would be better for Fury’s financial future, of course, if England’s Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) beats New Zealand’s Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) in their heavyweight title unification fight (Sky Sports Box Office; Showtime). A Joshua-Fury fight would do huge business in the United Kingdom, where they surely could attract 90,000 fans to Wembley Stadium in London.
Joshua, 28, owns the IBF, IBO and WBA titles. Fury, however, was recognized as the heavyweight champion after he upset Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) two years ago in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Fury, 29, gave up the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles he won from the long-reigning Klitschko to seek treatment for depression, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. The 6-feet-9, 260-pound Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) is expected to return to the ring sometime in April.
While Parker appreciates Fury’s support, the WBO champ realizes the former champ would be at the top of his list for potential opponents if he upsets Joshua.
“I still consider him a champion because he didn’t lose his belts to anyone,” Parker said. “And I think when he does come back, if I still have the belt or have a chance to fight him, I would love to fight him.”
Parker edged Fury’s cousin, Hughie Fury, by majority decision in his most recent title defense, a 12-rounder September 23 in Manchester, England.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.