Parker focused on Joshua challenge

AFTER brutally knocking out Lucas Browne on Saturday night on HBO, Dillian Whyte immediately started screaming for a fight with Deontay Wilder.

He’s not the only one. Any professional fighter above 200 pounds would love to crash the Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder party and get even a fraction of the amount of money those two are set to generate. In fact, there’s likely a large number of fighters below 200 pounds who would gladly hit the sizzler and eat their way up above two bills to do it.

This Sunday, Joseph Parker will have an honest-to-goodness shot at crashing that party when he takes on Joshua in a heavyweight title unification fight on Showtime and Sky Sports PPV.

Outside of the contingent of active heavyweight fighters, there won’t be too many non-New Zealanders rooting for Parker to pull the upset. For one, Joshua is overwhelmingly popular, and already established as one of the biggest box office attractions in the history of boxing. But also, a bout between Joshua and Wilder is too mouth-watering, too perfect, and frankly, too profitable for everyone involved for anyone to want anything other than that particular fight next.

Generally, that’s exactly what happens. Boxing isn’t a league, so with the exception of a handful of sanctioning body rules, the powers that be can set up any fight they want at pretty much any time. Disgruntled Facebook users and the guy who insists on talking to you at the bar while the fights are on like to grumble about how “the best don’t fight the best, ya see, that’s the problem with boxing,” but the reality is that historically, the best fights usually happen. Most great fights do get made, because great fights make money, and that’s what everyone in the sport is here to do.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” said Parker on a recent SHOWTIME conference call of the constant Wilder-Joshua chatter. “I think everyone is entitled to their opinion and the fight they want to see. I think what’s important for us is that we focus on what’s in front of us and that’s Anthony Joshua. Our focus is on Anthony Joshua and being in great shape and being healthy. It gives us motivation in training and we know what our focus is. Our focus is Anthony Joshua and putting on the best performance of our lives March 31.”

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