Joseph Parker plans to shoot up the WBO rankings to position himself alongside Oleksandr Usyk in case Anthony Joshua’s belt becomes available, says manager David Higgins.
Usyk reinforced his position as the mandatory challenger to the WBO heavyweight title by beating Derek Chisora and then warned champion Joshua: “Either he fights me or relinquishes”.
Now former champion Parker is battling to cement himself next to Usyk in the WBO rankings.
Joshua must first defend his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Kubrat Pulev on December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and plans two fights with Tyson Fury in 2021 to decide an undisputed champion.
“I am the mandatory for Joshua so he has two options,” Usyk told Sky Sports News.
“One; to fight me.
“Two; to vacate and to go and fight Fury.”
Behind Usyk as the WBO’s No 2 contender is undefeated Daniel Dubois, who fights Joe Joyce on November 28.
Parker, who lost the WBO title to Joshua, is ranked at No 3 but hopes a victory over fellow New Zealander Junior Fa would move him up one crucial position.
“One hundred per cent, we’d take the fight [with Usyk for WBO belt],” Parker’s manager Higgins told Sky Sports.
“In fact, I think Joseph’s claim for that opportunity would stack up against anyone else in that top 10.
“We would take the fight. You could look at doing it in the UK obviously, or New Zealand potentially, if it got a bit of government support.
“It all depends on that mandatory, and whether Joshua vacates or not. We’ll keep winning and take the opportunity when it comes.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn has warned: “The belts are important to Joshua.”
Parker’s manager Higgins said: “Joseph believes Usyk to be a class act. He is really slick, but it’s just whether he has the power at heavyweight. He’s certainly got the skills. There’s a lot of respect there.”
Parker must first end the unbeaten run of countryman Fa – they shared four amateur fights, winning twice each.
“The stakes are high,” Higgins said. “Joseph is taking a big risk fighting Fa, and he has to win well, and put in a dominant performance.
“Fa is ranked quite well with the WBO, at No 6, Joe at No 3.
“We were surprised to see Dubois go above Joe in the rankings. Joe was at two and then Dubois went to two, and Joe is three now. But that’s probably based on busyness. Dubois’ resume doesn’t have any good names in it. That being said, Dubois has got huge potential and that will be another fight we’ll look at in the future as well.
“Joseph is focused only on December and getting a good win, and then we’ll be hoping that the ratings committee is to take into account how busy he is, etc, and then we hope he advances in the rankings further.”
Parker’s name was mentioned by Chisora’s manager David Haye on Sunday.
Parker withdrew from a scheduled fight with Chisora citing a spider bite but there is interest on both sides to agree a new date for 2021.
“If the Chisora fight made economic sense, then absolutely Joseph would fight Chisora,” Higgins said.
“He’s got to get this Junior Fa fight out of the way, and then he’s back on his third fight on the Matchroom promotional contract. It will really be up to Matchroom and Eddie Hearn to recommend the next opponent. But certainly, if it was Chisora and it made economic sense, then why not?
“Chisora comes forward, looks for the knockout. Joseph has had three stoppage wins in a row now, so it will be a good match-up for the fans, 100 per cent.
“Usyk has got a good team around him. If the opportunity comes, we’d relish being able to do business with them.”