Joseph Parker’s stock in the heavyweight division has never been higher, and thoughts now turn to how he builds on that.
The former WBO World Champion fought four times in 2023, all relatively low-level bar the final contest against hard-hitting American and fellow former titlist Deontay Wilder.
Against the odds, Parker bamboozled Wilder, hurt him and won a clear points decision. He also managed to spoil the plans for Wilder to face Anthony Joshua – a bout that was signed but depended on both rivals winning on the night.
Whilst the American didn’t keep up his side of the deal, Joshua did. He dispatched of Otto Wallin in five rounds, and moves ahead to huge nights in 2024.
Speaking to Boxing News, Parker has revealed that he was angling to be the first of those fights.
“I was trying to get the AJ Fight. It would be nice to have the rematch. Now, he’s locked in to fight Francis Ngannou, which I feel is a good fight for him. It’s a fight everyone’s talking about, buzzing about, and it’ll be good to see what they do together.”
“We initiated and said ‘hey we’re keen to fight, if you want to take the rematch’ but they had other plans. Respect to them and what their plans are. It means we just have to find who’s next – someone in the top ten.”
Whilst Parker also has eyes on the top contenders like Filip Hrgovic and Zhilei Zhang, he’s also looking for another shot at redemption against Joe Joyce.
The pair fought back in 2022 and Joyce handed Parker his first stoppage loss. He believes that it would be a different fight today.
“There’s only one way to find out. Let’s make it happen sometime this year. I know that the version of myself that fought Deontay Wilder is a lot different to the version that fought Joe Joyce, so the only way to see both versions of Joe Joyce and myself is to make a fight happen this year.”
Although both fights seem off the table for now, with favourable rankings and coming off a career-best victory, the former world champion from New Zealand should have options to keep his momentum up.