Joseph Parker v Anthony Joshua won't happen till 2017 or later?Written by Leroy Cleveland
Will the upcoming heavyweight bout between surging unbeaten young lions Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz, originally tagged as a title eliminator, be a championship fight?
Current WBO belt holder and current lineal champion Tyson Fury might be stripped of his belts as he is on a hiatus of sorts from boxing due to drug problems.
As a result, Parker's handlers are lobbying for their man, the WBO's top contender, to face Andy Ruiz in a title fight for the presumed soon-to-be-vacant WBO belt.
How things can change...
Until a week or so ago, Parker appeared to be on a direct collision course with current IBF belt holder Anthony Joshua. However, after Fury dropped out of his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, Team Joshua set its sights on Klitschko while it appeared Parker would face unbeaten Mexican big boy Andy Ruiz on the undercard in an IBF eliminator.
But now, don't be surprised if Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz contest the WBO strap next because its champion, Fury, will have been stripped. (And he will probably be)
Will we see a heavyweight title showdown in New Zealand?
If so, how long will it be before the winner faces another champion?
... It all depends.
Should Parker win, he'll no longer be Joshua's mandatory opponent because sanctioning bodies don't recognize belt holders of rival associations.
In addition, unless it’s a rematch, newly crowned heavyweight champions tend to always take the “presumed” low-risk options first, creating a groundswell of anticipation for a much larger, high-risk bout.
Examples: Heavyweight Champion/ First Title Defense
- Larry Holmes/ Alfredo Evangelista
- Michael Spinks / Steffen Tangstad
- Evander Holyfield / George Foreman (Team Holyfield assumed this would be a safer fight than it turned out to be)
- George Foreman / Axel Schultz
- Vitali Klitschko / Danny Williams
- Lamon Brewster / Kali Meehan
- Wladmir Klitschko / Derrick Jefferson
- Deontay Wilder / Eric Molina
And lastly, a heavyweight title unification bout is a pretty big deal and usually needs time to marinate in order to get the attention it deserves.
Remember how long it took Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye to collide? When they finally did, it was a colossal international event because Haye, via his outside-the-ring antics and impressive title defenses, elevated his stock enough to generate public demand - and bigger money - for the fight.
Of course, if two fighters are red hot and the money is right, anything can happen. Heavyweight beltholders have faced other reigning beltholders in their first title defense. (Mike Tyson vs Bonecrusher Smith).
However, history tells us neither Wladimir Klitschko nor Anthony Joshua will probably be Parker's next opponent should the latter defeat Ruiz.
Parker's handlers will likely want to him to have at least one (showcase) title defense while allowing the buzz and anticipation for a super showdown with Joshua or Klitschko to grow.