January 27, 2017
January 27, 2017
Joseph Parker

Top Rank

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KEVIN BARRY, trainer of WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, believes his man will inevitably fight IBF champion Anthony Joshua.

The two unbeaten stars almost fought last year when Parker was Joshua’s IBF mandatory challenger, but he eventually ended up defeating Andy Ruiz for the vacant WBO strap.

Parker looks set to make the maiden defence of his title against Hughie Fury, cousin of former heavyweight king Tyson Fury, but Barry hopes he can eventually mix with the division’s leading names.

“We’re interested in getting Joe in amongst the big names and the big names right now are Deontay Wilder, who I think is the best heavyweight in the world at the moment, Anthony Joshua I believe is on a collision course with Parker,” he told Boxing News.

“Obviously with the fight he has scheduled [against Wladimir Klitschko on April 29], it puts us even further back. I look back now, Andy Ruiz was a different proposition but there was a decent chance in early 2016 that Joshua and Parker were going to fight in November. It’s an interesting fight.

“The thing with Joe, I think he’s better suited to fighting the taller guys. He cuts them down and he closes the distance at ease.”

Last year, Parker proved himself worthy of mixing at world level by outpointing both Carlos Takam and Ruiz, and stopping Alexander Dimitrenko.

He is already a huge star in his native country, and now with a world title in his possession other markets are taking notice, highlighted by his linking up with promoters Top Rank, who will co-promote him alongside Duco Events.

The WBO recently ordered negotiations for a fight with mandatory challenger Fury, or else it goes to purse bids. Barry remains positive about the talks and feels the fight will likely land in New Zealand.

“Negotiations are ongoing. We believe that we have a very favourable package for Hughie to come to New Zealand. I’ve got Joe arriving back here in Vegas on Sunday, which if we’re looking at that April 1 date will give us nine weeks to prepare,” he said.

“We know it’s a serious challenge, we’ve got a lot of respect for Hughie, he’s a young guy who’s getting better all the time and he will be looking to make a name for himself.

“Joe winning the title, he was the fourth youngest heavyweight champion of all time but Hughie’s 22, he would leapfrog Joe and Klitschko.

“With what’s going on with Tyson, it gives Hughie a chance to slip out of the shadow.

“His [Parker’s] profile’s pretty big in New Zealand, Joe’s a superstar down there. What we’re interested in is developing the skills, give him a little bit more time to mature. We believe we’ve got a real guy who’s going to be one of the top heavyweights in the future. He’s nowhere near the finished product so another fight in New Zealand would be good.”