Promoter Bob Arum is looking to match Joseph Parker 24-1 (18) of New Zealand with American Bryant Jennings 23-2 (13) in a fight that would see the Kiwi former world champion make his ring return on US-soil.
The 26-year-old Parker is keen to get back in the winner’s circle after surrendering his WBO strap in a heavyweight unification clash with the United Kingdom’s Anthony Joshua at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on March 31.
The deal that the Top Rank head honcho has floated to Parker’s manager David Higgins of Duco Events would see the former WBO heavyweight champion headline a show in Atlantic City, New Jersey on August 18 that would be broadcast live on ESPN.
Jennings took a two-year hiatus from the sport after back-to-back losses to then-world champion Wladimir Klitschko and leading contender Luis Ortiz in 2015.
The 33-year-old Philadelphia-native joined the Top Rank stable to launch his comeback last year, leading to four victories over journeymen heavyweights like Joey Dawejko 19-5-4 (11) who Jennings defeated for the USA Pennsylvania state title over 10 rounds in April.
Higgins meanwhile is still mulling over different offers from the USA, UK and New Zealand to determine which one will provide the greatest return on investment for his WBO #6, WBC #6 and IBF #7 heavyweight.
Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti admits it is still early stages in the negotiations.
“It’s a fight we’re working on and it’s a fight we’d like to do but there are a lot of moving parts,” Moretti told ESPN this week. “Sometimes they get made and sometimes they don’t.”
WBO #8 and WBA #13 Jennings would provide the perfect opportunity for Parker to raise his profile stateside after only fighting twice in the USA previously – both times in small-time bouts early on in his pro career.
Another option being considered is Russian giant Alexander Ustinov 34-2 (25) in a fight that would take place in New Zealand. The 6-foot-7.5 Ustinov is well-known in New Zealand after retiring popular Kiwi heavyweight David Tua in Hamilton, New Zealand five years ago.
Although now 41-years-old, Ustinov is coming off a competitive loss to Manuel Charr 31-4 (17) in a fight for the WBA “regular” title in Oberhausen, Germany last November.
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