Joseph Parker next fight: 3 options are being discussedWritten by Lee Cleveland
Earlier this week, handlers for WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker announced they were considering three opponents for their fighter's next defense.
Parker, of course, can have two voluntary defenses prior to facing his mandatory opponent (the winner of Alexander Povetkin vs Christian Hammer).
The "forgotten champion" amid all the Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder hype, Parker is looking to inject some juice in a heavyweight reign that has been dull and largely unimpressive thus far.
Some insist he was "gifted" a win in his title-taking tilt against Andy Ruiz and even more were seemingly unimpressed with his recent points verdict over Hughie Fury.
Simply put, the Kiwi needs to face bigger names - and look better doing it. And he needs to be showcased on a bigger stage.
So, who will Joseph Parker fight next?
Apparently, Lucas Browne (25-0, 22 KO), Zhilei Zhang (18-0, 14 KO) and Bryant Jennings (20-2, 11 KO) are the top candidates and each of them have something that can enhance Parker's stock.
Undefeated heavyweight Aussie monster Browne packs a heck of a punch and Parker vs Browne would generate a lot of trans-Tasman interest if it takes place 'Down Under.' Australia has appeal, especially after Jeff Horn's upset of Manny Pacquiao.
A solid win over a previously unbeaten heavyweight in a high-stakes, regional showdown might be just what the doctor ordered.
Jennings has lost 2 of his last 3 fights but considering the level of opposition (Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz), his stock hasn't waned much. Moreover, he went 12 rounds with Wlad, something few of Wlad's opponents accomplished.
Sure, Jennings was KO'd by heavyweight mack truck Luis Ortiz in 2015 but he boasts wins over Mike Perez, Artur Szpilka and Siarhei Liakhovich. He would be the first Parker opponent who is a proven contender at boxing's highest level.
If Parker can look good in defeating Jennings, a legitimate thoroughbred, it would certainly boost the former's stock. And given Las Vegas would be the likely location, Parker could make some waves in the States.
A Chinese boxer best known for winning a silver medal in the Super heavyweight class at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, Zhilei Zhang would be an interesting opponent. No, a lot of fight fans aren't familiar with the 6'6" Zhang but if Parker faces him in China in front of a massive audience, that fight could generate tremendous international coverage and give Joseph some much-needed spotlight.
Who would you like to see Parker fight next?