Wilder “Would Love” to Fight Parker
The heavyweight division has a host of champions heading into 2017. The belts that Tyson Fury relinquished were won by the likes of Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker, and Deontay Wilder holds the WBC title. Wilder is interested in unifying the titles before the year’s end.
Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) will first defend his WBC belt on February 25 against Andrezj Wawrzyk. The fight is admittedly a tune-up for Wilder, who has been out of the ring since sustaining a number of injuries that required surgery.
Assuming that Wilder gets through that fight with the ease he is expected to, a fight against newly crowned WBO champion Joseph Parker may be on the horizons.
Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) defeated Andy Ruiz in his home country of New Zealand. He is set for a mandatory title defense but the opponent has yet to be decided upon.
Parker is co-promoted by Top Rank’s Bob Arum. Al Haymon, Wilder’s promoter, would be likely able to work with Arum to create the Wilder vs. Joshua unification fight this year.
Wilder’s manager Jay Deas said the fight could happen as soon as this summer.
“It depends how February 25 goes against Andrezj Wawrzyk,” Deas told Radio Live (h/t BoxingScene). “If Deontay does not get any wear and tear or injuries everything goes, we would rather fight in the middle of the year, and if a Parker fight in the middle of the year is available we would love that opportunity.
Deas complimented the progress of Parker, who has risen up the heavyweight ranks in a relatively short period of time.
“Parker’s a competitor,” he said. “He is young, fast and strong. He has plenty going for him. The guys working with him have done a tremendous job. Parker is a very good fighter and I think Wilder beats anybody in the heavyweight division but of course I am supposed to think that, like I’m sure Parker’s people think he can beat anybody and that is why we need to get them in the ring.”
Wilder’s manager agrees with the sentiment that having multiple heavyweight champions hurts the sport, especially in terms of public appeal. In the days of old, finding someone that didn’t know the name of the heavyweight champion was rare. In 2016, there isn’t even one name for them to know.
“It’s really not that good when the average person does not know who the heavyweight champion of the world is,” Deas said. “That is not good for the sport. There should be one recognized champion. For the overall good of the sport it is the best thing to do.”