UNBEATEN heavyweight contender Joseph Parker will fight Solomon Haumono in Christchurch, New Zealand on Thursday (July 21) ahead of his mandated shot at the IBF world title, currently held by Anthony Joshua.
The 24-year-old earned his mandatory challenger status in May when he outpointed Carlos Takam to earn a career-best win.
Though his shot at the title has not yet been finalised, the IBF have outlined their deadline (January 9) for Joshua to make his first mandatory defence since winning the belt in April.
He may be allowed another voluntary at the end of the year before facing Parker, but the New Zealander will ensure he stays sharp until his time comes.
Haumono, 40, is no world-beater but carries a decent dig – 21 of his 24 wins have come early. Like Parker, Solomon is from New Zealand though fights out of Australia. However he has moved his camp for this fight to Los Angeles in a bid to get the best preparation possible for what would be a large upset if he were to win.
Parker proved he belongs at world level when he beat Takam over 12 gruelling rounds in Manukau City, New Zealand. Having never gone the 12 round distance before, Parker was visibly tired at times and had to dig deep to fend off Takam’s demanding assaults.
Parker even had Takam hurt at times, particularly in the ninth, though proved he has the conditioning to last the championship distance when the Cameroon-born Frenchman refused to budge.
Haumono is unlikely to provide such a stern test, and the fight is more of a showcase/keep-busy outing for Parker. Solomon has strung together a series of wins since being knocked out by Kevin Johnson in 2013, though only against limited opposition, and after a near two-year hiatus from 2013 to 2015.
Strong and powerful, he’s likely to be dangerous in the early rounds but Parker’s fast hands, thudding blows and smart footwork make him a big favourite. It will also be a chance for the young contender to convey what lessons he learned from the Takam fight, and any subsequent improvements.