Joseph Parker: 5 next possible opponents for the WBO heavyweight champion

After negating the challenge of the awkward Hughie Fury in a controversial night last Saturday, we discuss what could be next for the Kiwi.

WBO world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-0) has the world at his feet after escaping the Manchester Arena unscathed last Saturday, still clutching his heavyweight strap. In a messy, absorbing, yet underwhelming defence against Hughie Fury (20-1), the Kiwi won a 118-110, 118-110, 114-114 majority decision 11,000 miles from home as he negated his toughest test as a professional to date.

Holding one piece of the heavyweight jigsaw, the next step for Parker is an intriguing one. Will the New Zealander chase the money, the titles or an unbeaten record? With time on the 25-year-old’s side the boxing world is Parker’s oyster as we look ahead to the next 12 months and his next big night under the lights.

  1. 1 Tony Bellew (29-2-1)

    With reports Tony Bellew is set to fight David Haye on December 17, Parker may find himself waiting on the eventual winner of this rematch. Bellew has stated that he has "one or two" fights left in him, and with the lure of a world title at another weight class you can see why this fight makes sense for "The Bomber".

    Bellew is a natural cruiserweight, and with a significant size advantage Parker would enter this fight confident of negating the Evertonian's power as well as landing a big money payday at a UK venue.

    If Bellew's rematch with Haye falls through, this fight could happen sooner than we think with Parker making no secret about his desire to stay active.

  2. 2 Deontay Wilder (38-0)

    Wilder has underwhelmed in his reign as WBC world champion, however has a tough assignment in the form of Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz on November 4. If the "Bronzed Bomber" can escape the Barclays Center with his unbeaten record still intact, a meeting with Parker would make sense for both in unifying the WBO and WBC belts.

    With the winner of this potential bout going into talks with Joshua with more leverage after unifying two quarters of the heavyweight puzzle, money will talk in eventually getting the fight over the line to find an undisputed heavyweight king.

    Parker has shown his willingness to travel in defending his belt, however with Wilder proven not to be the most active of heavyweights, the New Zealander may have to wait well into 2018 to see signs of this potential showdown.

  3. 3 David Haye (28-3)

    Recovering from an Achilles injury which hampered his March 4 showdown with Tony Bellew this year, David Haye is determined to have one more crack at securing heavyweight gold.

    Announcing on social media that he has signed to rematch Bellew on December 17 this year, this could act as the perfect 'final eliminator' to challenge for Parker's WBO strap.

    At 36-years-old, the former two-weight world champion has his eyes on a domestic blockbuster with Anthony Joshua before retirement, and claiming the WBO belt will do wonders for his appeal and bargaining to get Matchroom and "AJ" into the squared circle in 2018.

  4. 4 Anthony Joshua (19-0)

    Despite fulfilling his IBF mandatory requirements on October 28 against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, Joshua may well choose the New Zealander next if Deontay Wilder talks break down.

    However, timing is crucial for Parker and the 25-year-old knows he will enter the ring as a heavy underdog with Anthony Joshua. Ideally, Parker will want two or three more fights before having to 'cash-out' on a fight with Joshua, as the New Zealander makes as much money as he can during his WBO championship reign.

  5. 5 Hughie Fury (20-1)

    Unlikely, but possible. With fiercely debated scorecards in the aftermath of Saturday's fight with Hughie Fury, the WBO may well demand a rematch between the pair.

    If the request doesn't come from the WBO however, don't expect these two to ever meet again, with Parker and his team outwardly admitting their reluctance to take the fight against an "awkward" fury in the first place.

    Hughie Fury now becomes the president of the heavyweights 'who needs him club', with his awkward, backwards style making it hard to win and look good against.

Who do you want to see Parker fight next? Comment below...

  1. Who should be next for Joseph Parker?

    1. Tony Bellew
    2. Deontay Wilder
    3. David Haye
    4. Anthony Joshua
    5. Hughie Fury
    6. Other
    53 votes
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Lewis Watson

London-based football writer and former boxing editor, with a specialised eye for sports betting. Featured on Betfair, BetVictor + others.

A Munich pilgrim to witness Chelsea winning their maiden European Cup.