The prospects for New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker in the coming year seem to focus on a rebuild.
He lost his WBO title and lost two in a row during a difficult year until he knocked out Alexander Flores in a December bout in Christchurch.
The heavyweight division has enjoyed a renaissance of late, Parker’s impressive past record, and ability to take a punch has opponents wary of stepping into the ring with him.
Parker is trying to make a mark in the UK and he is just 26, but his promoter, David Higgins, told Sky Sports that finding worth opponents for Parker has become a challenge.
“My job is quite difficult now,” said Higgins. “The problem I have is they know Joe is dangerous. He’s in that category where on his day, he’ll beat anyone, and so I’ve got some tricky maneuvering to do. I probably will give Eddie (Hearn) a ring and try and discuss a plan going forward.”
Hearn pulls the strings in boxing in Great Britain and Higgins hopes to maneuver a title fight for Parker.
The crowded heavyweight field includes such notables as Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora. Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and three or four other legitimate contenders.
Higgins reports that Parker went through the Christmas break without falling out of form, a departure from the past.
“He looked in great shape, mentally he’s very focused, it’s the best Joseph Parker I’ve seen. I’m expecting a massive year for Joseph Parker,” Higgins said.
New Zealand and the UK are prime markets for Parker, but the opponent and the pay-per-view splits will dictate the venue, not the other way around.
Higgins and Parker are hoping for something to materialise in England during the early part of the year, but if nothing comes along, it is probably that he would return to New Zealand and earn some money with a fight against Australia’s Lucas Browne.