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Joseph Parker eying off second world title shot against Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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New Zealand’s Joseph Parker 26-2 (20) could get a world title shot sooner rather than later against former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 17-0 (13) if Anthony Joshua vacates his WBO heavyweight championship as widely expected.

Joshua 23-1 (21) regained the IBF, WBA and WBO belts with a revenge win over Andy Ruiz Jr 33-2 (22) in Saudi Arabia last month but is now faced with two pending mandatory defences from the IBF and the WBO.

Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev 28-1 (14) is the IBF mandatory, while Ukrainian southpaw Usyk holds the same position in the WBO rankings.

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The 27-year-old Parker fought just once last year, a 10th round TKO victory over former world title challenger Alex Leapai in Providence, Rhode Island in June after signing a three-fight deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.

He was scheduled to face perennial contender Dereck Chisora 32-9 (23) in October before that bout was scrapped after Parker became ill following a spider bite. Chisora would go on to knockout late replacement David Price in four.

Parker’s manager David Higgins is now positioning his man for a shot at the WBO belt and says that a fight for the vacant title would be a case of history repeating.

“There’s talk that Joshua might have to vacate one of the sanctioning bodies. If he vacates the WBO, then suddenly you’ve got Usyk mandatory and I think the next available ranked boxer is Joseph Parker,” Higgins said to Sky Sports.

“You could end up with a situation where you have Usyk fight Parker for the vacant title, which funnily enough is how Joseph became world champion.

“He fought Ruiz for the vacant title. History repeats. Usyk is a very tough fight. He’s a southpaw, he would dissect Anthony Joshua.”

Parker became the first boxer to defeat Ruiz Jr when he earned a majority decision victory in his homeland for the vacant WBO belt three years ago.

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