Joseph Parker to fight Razvan Cojanu in place of Hughie Fury
Razvan Cojanu has arrived in New Zealand less than two weeks out from his fight with Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker.
Cojanu is an 11th hour replacement for Hughie Fury, who pulled out of the May 6 WBO world heavyweight title fight over the weekend.
The result of that is also likely to see the venue downgraded with reports of shifting from Spark Arena (formerly Vector Arena), which seats around 12,000, to the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau which holds around 3000.
WBO rules stipulated Parker needed to fight an opponent ranked inside their top 15 and the 2.02m tall Romanian giant, who arrived in Auckland on Wednesday morning, fit the bill as their No 14.
Cojanu may not be a household name, but the WBO considered him a worthy contender as someone who's been training and in fight condition. But how good is he and is he worthy of a shot at a world belt?
Cojanu was born in Voinesti, Romania, on March 10, 1987, making him 30. These days he is based in Burbank, California. Fury is 22.
Cojanu is ranked No 14 by the WBO. Fury was ranked No 1. He has a record of 16 wins (9 by KO) and 2 losses (1 by KO). Fury was unbeaten over 20 fights with 10 wins by KO.
Independent boxing rankers BoxRec have him at No 78. Fury is No 25. Parker is No 6.
He has fought 68 rounds as a professional with a 50 per cent KO average. Fury has 92 rounds with a 50 per cent KO average. Parker has 99 rounds under his belt with an 82 per cent KO average.
Crucially, Cojanu is tall at 2.02m, a key element of Parker's preparations for Fury (1.98m). Parker stands 1.93m but enjoys fighting taller opponents.
Olympian Cojanu is experienced in the sport, having had over 300 amateur fights and being a four-time Romanian champion Fury is a former world youth champion.
Cojanu lost his first fight as a professional to Mexican Alvaro Morales by majority points in Las Vegas in 2011.
His other loss was an unexpected knockout at the hands of American Donavan Dennis in 2015.
Cojanu's height and skills make him a popular sparring partner. Ironically Parker has used him in his latest camp preparing for Fury. It adds an intriguing dimension to this fight.
Cojanu was used as a sparring partner by Alex Leapai for the Australian's failed world title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko in Germany in 2014.
He has also been in training camps with Charles Martin, Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte.
Cojanu has power, with a noted left hook. Power has never been a hallmark of Fury.
He has a previous Kiwi connection, having KO'd Paula Mataele in Melbourne in 2013 in his seventh fight.
He doesn't mind travelling. His last fight was in China in December where he knocked out local hope Zhi Yu Whu to win the vacant WBO China zone belt.
That was his second fight in China. In his 2014 appearance there he won the WBO's Asia Pacific title.
The bulk of his fights have been in the USA but he has also fought in Mexico, Romania and Australia.