As the new year is underway, the most significant option for heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is which belt will defend first. All signs point to that he would likely face IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. That leaves the WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk without a dance partner.
Joshua and Pulev have until January 31 to reach a deal to faceoff for the IBF heavyweight title. In the event that happens, Usyk would be able to take on the next ranked heavyweight, which would be Joesph Parker for the vacant title.
Parker is ready to face Usyk for the title – with the proper financial terms in place.
“Usyk has not earned his stripes at heavyweight,” Higgins told Sky Sports. “Joseph Parker is the A-side, and Joseph Parker has sold out the Principality Stadium with Joshua, he’s sold out The O2, with Whyte.
Joseph Parker would be the A-side in a WBO title fight with Oleksandr Usyk, says David Higgins.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) January 13, 2020
“He’s the A-side and so if Usyk wants to share the ring with Parker, I would be expecting 70-30 open book revenue share in Parker’s favour. I’ll get ridiculed for that, but listen, Parker has beaten Andy Ruiz, he’s sold out the Principality and the O2 and he’s a big name in the UK, so Usyk is the B-side. Absolutely Joe would fight him, as long as the Usyk team recognise and understand that they are the B-side, there’s no problem.
Parker was initially slated to take on Derick Chisora back in October but had suffered a spider bite, which caused him to pull out of the contest. Interestingly, Parker’s camp is coming from this angle as he is the number 2 challenger if Joshua has to drop the WBO heavyweight title.
“There’s a saying that styles make fights. I think Joseph Parker has a better chance against Usyk than say Anthony Joshua. I think Usyk would dissect Anthony Joshua, too big and slow, whereas Parker is quick. We haven’t seen the best of Joseph yet. It’s a very good fight and we really respect their team, but we are the A-side, and as long as they are willing to accept a small percentage of the revenue, then there might be a deal.”
Is the WBO mandatory challenger Usyk willing to take 30 percent to take on Parker? Not likely, but we’ll see where this all shakes out when Joshua has to decide on which belt he wants to defend.