By Keith Idec
The Joseph Parker-Razvan Cojanu heavyweight title fight, which BoxingScene.com reported earlier Tuesday was in the works, will be announced at a press conference Wednesday in Auckland, New Zealand.
It’ll take place May 6 at Spark Arena in Auckland, Parker’s hometown. Cojanu is a late replacement for Hughie Fury, the mandatory challenger for Parker’s WBO heavyweight championship.
England’s Fury (20-0, 10 KOs), a cousin of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, withdrew from the fight Saturday, reportedly due to a lower-back injury. Parker’s promoters have questioned Fury’s injury because they had long sensed Fury wouldn’t travel to New Zealand for the fight.
The WBO allowed Parker’s handlers to make a fight with anyone ranked among the WBO’s top 15 heavyweight contenders because Fury pulled out on such short notice. The Romanian-born Cojanu is ranked No. 14 by the WBO, but hardly has accomplished anything that warrants a title shot.
The 6-feet-7½ Cojanu (16-2, 9 KOs), who was one of Parker’s sparring partners for the Fury fight, got knocked out in the second round by Donovan Dennis (12-3, 10 KOs) two years ago as part of ESPN’s Boxcino tournament in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The Burbank, California, resident is 3-0 since then, but beat journeyman Grover Young (12-22-3, 8 KOs) only by split decision in their six-rounder in January 2016.
Cojanu, 30, also lost his pro debut by majority decision to Mexico’s Alvaro Morales, who entered their March 2011 bout in Las Vegas with a 5-9-5 record.
Unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) suggested Monday that Parker should skip his May 6 title defense in favor of a title unification fight against him in July (https://www.boxingscene.com/wilder-parker-forget-about-6th-fight-me-july--115944). Parker instead chose to make the first defense of his WBO title against Cojanu.
The 6-feet-4, 240-pound Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) won the title December 10 in Auckland. Parker defeated American Andy Ruiz (29-1, 19 KOs) by majority decision in their 12-rounder to win the WBO title, which Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) gave up last year to focus on treatment for alcoholism, drug addiction and depression.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.