25 Oct 2016

Parker won't fight Joshua after Klitschko pulls out

10:36 am on 25 October 2016

British boxer Anthony Joshua's proposed world heavyweight title fight with Wladimir Klitschko in December will not go ahead, though New Zealand's Joseph Parker won't be Klitschko's replacement.

Wladimir Klitschko (L) and Anthony Joshua (R).

Wladimir Klitschko (L) and Anthony Joshua (R). Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Klitschko has a minor injury which he suffered in training and the fight has now been postponed until next year.

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn announced this morning that with the Ukranian sidelined and with no decision made over whether the WBA title would be on the line, the fight could not happen on the date suggested.

"We've been in deep negotiations for a few weeks now waiting on the decision from the WBA," Hearn said.

"I was made aware that Wladimir picked up a minor injury late last week but regardless of that, with just over six weeks to go until December 10, it's unrealistic to put together a fight of this magnitude and give it the full build-up it deserves.

"There will be an official announcement on Joshua v Klitschko coming very soon, but for now we are seeking a new foe for December 10 and building a huge card for Manchester."

Joshua, the IBF champion, will press ahead with a planned title defence at the Manchester Arena on December 10, but has been forced to seek an alternative opponent after confirmation of Klitschko's injury.

The news doesn't effect New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker's plans to fight Mexican Andy Ruiz for the vacant WBO title on the same date, with Parker's promoters confirming they're pressing ahead with the bout.

Parker's camp say there's an 80 percent chance the fight, which was supposed to be held in Auckland, will now be held in the United States due to monetary constraints.

Promoter Dean Lonergan said he needs to raise millions of dollars of sponsorship within a matter of weeks for the fight to take place in Auckland and confirmed he's asked the Government to help foot some of the bill.

We're under huge time pressure because the fight's down for December 10 and that's very close," he said.

"I'm not confident that we're going to have the fight here in New Zealand and I think there's an 80 percent chance it's going to America because of the sheer size of the finances required.

"We have to do something that's never been done before and that's get seven figures in sponsorship," Mr Lonergan said.

The government said the application for funding was being assessed and it didn't yet have a view on it.