23 May 2016

Parker still faces fight for title shot

2:12 pm on 23 May 2016

Sports Call: Joseph Parker may have earned himself a shot at a heavyweight world title and proven he's a genuine contender but there's no guarantee that fight will actually happen, writes Stephen Hewson.

Parker's IBF eliminator win over Carlos Takam in Auckland at the weekend has earned him a mandatory title fight against current IBF heavyweight world champion, British boxer Anthony Joshua.

But with boxing being boxing, nothing is cut and dry.

Going into the fight Takam was ranked third, one spot ahead of Parker on the IBF heavyweight list.

Anthony's camp and the IBF now recognise Parker's right for a crack at the IBF world title.

But if Joshua can organise a unification title with fellow Brit Tyson Fury - who holds the WBO and WBA titles - that will take precedence over any mandatory IBF title fight.

Joseph Parker's win over Carlos Takam means he's the mandatory challenger for the IBF title, but a title fight could still be some way off.

Joseph Parker's win over Carlos Takam means he's the mandatory challenger for the IBF title, but a title fight could still be some way off. Photo: Photosport

American Deontay Wilder is the current holder of the other heavyweight championship title, the WBC.

Parker's win over Carlos Takam will have further enhanced Parker's credibility among boxing aficionados globally.

His victory came in a hard fought 12-round affair, and while the final result was a unanimous points win to Parker, it was never guaranteed.

Parker was complimented by Fury who tweeted: "Welcome to big time boxing, respect to a young lad taking on a very tough guy in Takam very well done!'"

Tyson Fury was impressed by Joseph Parker's win.

Tyson Fury was impressed by Joseph Parker's win. Photo: Photosport

But the win did not impress Boxing News 24 writer Jeff Aranow, who said Parker's effort was unimpressive and lacked stamina.

"He (Parker) wasn't throwing a lot of shots.....Takam was just too lazy.

"Parker's stamina looked poor, but Takam's was far worse. Takam would have been beaten by a lot of heavyweights.

"We clearly didn't see the best in the heavyweight division. We saw two fighters with a high ranking but without the skills or the stamina to beat the best heavyweights."

What could happen next

The rematch between Fury and Vladimir Klitschko in July could have a bearing on Parker's future.

If Fury can defend his WBA and WBO titles, a fight against fellow Brit Joshua will be a multi-million dollar bonanza for both camps and will see Parker's hopes of a title fight against Anthony fade into the background.

On top of that, Joshua also needs to retain his IBF world title next month when he fights the unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale.

The window for a title shot for Parker is between November and January in Britain, and Parker's camp are planning on two more fights for Parker between now and any title fight.

The first of these is will be announced on Tuesday.

It's unlikely to be anyone that is high in the rankings on any of the major belts, because that would begin to pose further problems.

A well-ranked IBF contender would turn any fight Parker has into another eliminator bout - lose that and Parker would then lose his right for a mandatory challenge against Anthony.

That would be a serious setback, not only on his career ladder, but also financially.

Also lurking on the periphery is former world champion 35-year-old David Haye, who is mounting a career comeback.

Haye's ultimate aim is a match with either Joshua or Fury.

Fury still hasn't forgiven Haye for pulling out of two scheduled fights against him three years ago.

Joshua's camp is also keen to lift the profile of Parker in Britain.

Parker may have shown that fight-wise he's a title contender, but for Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn, Parker's financial punching power is well down.

That means his next couple of fights are likely to be in Britain and on the undercard possibly of a Joshua fight, as Parker works to boost his profile in Britain, so the public there will see him as a title contender and make a fight against Anthony much more lucrative.

So while Parker may have earned a clear cut win over Takam at the weekend, it's far from clear as to if and when a heavyweight title fight will actually take place.

Parker might have the right ranking, but with boxing money trumps everything, and at 24 years of age, he still has time on his side.

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