Boost for Joseph Parker's world title hopes as Wladimir Klitschko has no interest in a WBO box-off format

Joseph Parker and Wladimir Klitschko are no strangers after the Kiwi sparred with the then world champion early last year.
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Joseph Parker and Wladimir Klitschko are no strangers after the Kiwi sparred with the then world champion early last year.

Joseph Parker's rights to a WBO heavyweight title fight have been boosted with former champion Wladimir Klitschko confirming he has no interest in a proposed four-man elimination system to decide the vacant belt.

Parker's handlers are at the WBO convention in Puerto Rico looking to convince the organisation their No 1 ranked fighter is worthy of fighting for the title against No 3 Andy Ruiz, with a December 10 date in Auckland proposed.

Their clever bid comes against a backdrop of confusion with the WBO's bosses suggesting a "box-off" might be the fairest way to decide the title vacated by Tyson Fury.

Klitschko, who lost the IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Fury last November, is concentrating his energies on regaining the WBA belt.

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He wants that added to a proposed fight against IBF champion Anthony Joshua. Another suggestion is he could fight Australian Lucas Browne for the belt in Hamburg.

Interestingly, the Klitschko camp has no representatives at the WBO conference where a decision on their title plans will be made on Thursday.

But Klitschko's manager  Bernd Boente said his fighter wouldn't be involved in any tournament for the WBO title where he is ranked No 2 behind Parker.

"The WBO wants a tournament, which is up to them," Boente told ESPN.

"We love the WBO. Wladimir held the WBO title for a long time and it was the first world title he won. He respects the WBO, but if they do a tournament Wladimir would not participate. At this stage of his career it makes no sense."

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An alternative would be for Parker and Klitschko, as the organisation's two highest ranked boxers, to fight for the title.

That's something Parker isn't adverse to but his promoter Dean Lonergan sees it as unlikely to happen as there has been no dialogue with Boente as the Kolitschko-Joshua fight advanced and then stalled.

Not having Klitschko involved in a box-off would make a mockery of the proposed format and must enhance Parker's chances of getting a shot under his own steam.

Meanwhile, Boente explained why there was a stumbling block to the Joshua fight as the WBA are also yet to decide what to do with their vacant belt.

"For Wladimir, it's also about the WBA title. For him, this is important," Boente told ESPN.

"It is his mission. He is serious when he says it is not only about the money.

"We will go with the WBA ruling. We hope they rule quickly because December 10 is not far away."

Boente confirmed that they had been in talks with Browne about fighting in Hamburg on December 10 if the Joshua fight falls through.

 - Stuff

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