By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker’s promoter would welcome a return trip to the United Kingdom for a fight against the Tony Bellew-David Haye winner.
The rematch between Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) and Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) is scheduled for May 5 at O2 Arena in London.
Parker participated in an even bigger bout in the UK – a unanimous-decision defeat to Anthony Joshua that drew a capacity crowd of roughly 78,000 to Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on March 31.
“Joseph Parker himself and our team would back him against almost anyone, and certainly would back him against the winner of Bellew-Haye,” David Higgins, Parker’s promoter, told Sky Sports for a story posted Tuesday to the network’s website. “The question is whether they would be willing to step up? I think most people would see Anthony Joshua at this point as ‘The Golden Goose,’ and [there is a] big queue of people sitting on their hands and waiting a year, maybe two years, for a shot, which may or may not happen.
“For those British contenders, respect to the one that does step up to Parker because I think, despite Parker not quite getting the win [against Joshua], he gained a lot of respect and is the first man to take Joshua the distance.”
England’s Joshua knocked out the first 20 opponents of his professional career, but beat Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round heavyweight title unification fight last month. Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion, won convincingly on all three scorecards (119-109, 118-110, 118-110).
Higgins suspects Parker’s performance in what he considers a closer fight against Joshua will make potential opponents like Bellew, Haye and Dillian Whyte reluctant to face the former WBO heavyweight champ.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has announced London’s Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) will return July 21 against an undetermined opponent at O2 Arena. Whyte, the No. 1 contender for WBC champ Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), is not expected to consider Parker as his next opponent.
“He’ll be seen as dangerous and a lot of guys are very mouthy and derogatory towards Parker in putting him down, like Bellew or like Dillian Whyte,” Higgins said. “It would be very interesting to see if they are still calling him out, and if the likes of Dillian Whyte or Bellew have changed their tune. What does that say about Bellew’s character? What does it say about Dillian Whyte and his character?
“From our perspective, we are ready, willing and available. We’re not going to chase it, because our view is that they were just all talk. Any fight against Parker now will be a guaranteed sellout of the O2 against any of those guys. Credit to the one that steps up.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.