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Joseph Parker could face Lucas Browne in trans-Tasman “bubble”

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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Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker 27-2 (21) is looking to secure a fight with trans-Tasman rival Lucas Browne 29-2 (25) in New Zealand in August.

The 28-year-old Kiwi’s manager David Higgins has been in discussions with Matchroom Boxing about promoting a scaled-down show when the sport is allowed to return following the global coronavirus pandemic.

Both New Zealand and Australia have been relatively unaffected by COVID-19, suffering just four deaths per million people in both southern hemisphere countries. By comparison, the UK currently has 465 deaths per million while the USA has 242.

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The New Zealand and Australian governments are considering relaxing border restrictions between the two countries.

“In our part of the world, the most experienced heavyweight possibility for Joe is probably Lucas Browne,” Higgins told Sky Sports.

“If you read his record, his losses have been to very good fighters.

“He’s a guy that probably deserves a shot. You’ve got other guys like Junior Fa, guys in Australia, but they haven’t fought nearly as good opponents as Lucas and they’re not as experienced.

“We’ve had early stage discussions with a few parties, and I can tell you this, I think there might be a deal there (with Browne).”

The fight would likely take place behind closed doors or with a limited live audience.

“We’re blessed to have a wonderful promotional partner in Matchroom, who indicated the other day that they’d provide their blessing and support to look at doing an event in the New Zealand bubble,” Higgins said.

“Matchroom said yes, do some due diligence, so right now in partnership with Matchroom we’re doing due diligence on a possible Joseph Parker fight in August in New Zealand.

“Location is sort of a bit further down the track. In the checklist, safety first. Got to make sure that everyone is safe and that we fit with government regulations, then it’s a matter of, is it economically viable?”

Parker has used his time in lockdown to show off his lighter side with a series of humorous social media videos.

Higgins says Team Parker would like to use the proposed Browne fight to raise money for charity.

“Team Parker together with Matchroom and our broadcast partners, we’d like to make history, and run a safe, credible boxing promotion, coming out of the pandemic,” said Higgins.

“In a small New Zealand bubble, but on worldwide TV, hopefully to a couple of billion viewers and raise money for charity at the same time.

“Provide entertainment, hope, supplies, and show that we can get the economy going again. That’s our goal, we’re working on it, and we’ll do our best.”

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