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Parker lines up new opponent

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/04/2017

Joseph Parker expects to know who his new WBO title challenger will be on Monday, as his camp express no surprise at the late withdrawal of Hughie Fury.

Fury and Parker were to fight in Auckland on May 6, but the Englishman pulled out over the weekend, citing a serious lower back injury.

Fury's camp is talking of a new date.

Parker's promoters, Duco Events, said a new opponent from within the WBO's top 15-ranked boxers is being lined up in quick time for the May 6 date.

Parker said on Monday, "I expect to know today the new opponent and everything will go ahead.

"We're just locking in things at the moment."

He said he had trained hard and Fury's withdrawal "might be an excuse" to not want to face him in New Zealand.

"The way I see it, it is probably an excuse," Parker said.

"It might be legit [but] I think we just have to adapt and prepare for what is coming our way."

Parker's trainer Kevin Barry echoed that sentiment.

"I hope the injury is not too serious and I wish Hughie a speedy recovery," he said.

"Just the way the whole Fury team have been conducting themselves in the last three months, it didn't at all surprise us they [pulled] out at this last minute."

In a statement on Monday morning (NZT), Team Fury and Hennessy Sports confirmed Fury had injured his back.

"He has suffered an injury to his lower back which has been a serious issue for the last three weeks [and] has left him unable to train to his full capacity," it said.

Despite intense treatment, his physiotherapist on Friday told him to rest for three to four weeks.

"Hughie is devastated by the injury which has temporarily halted his dream of fighting for the world heavyweight title - but the fight will be rescheduled and a new date will be announced shortly.

"Hughie and Team Fury wish to express their sincerest apologies to Joseph Parker, the WBO, the fans and public in New Zealand and to all the boxing fans around the world who had been looking forward to the highly anticipated fight."

It was to be Parker's first title defence since he beat Andy Ruiz Jr in Auckland last December.

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