NOTES FROM AUCKLAND PART I
By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
Fri, 05 May 2017
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND ? Hometown hero Joseph Parker (22W-0L, 18KO?s) is set for the first defense of his WBO world heavyweight title Saturday May 6 at the Vodaphone Events Centre against late-sub Razvan Cojanu (16W-2L,9KO?s).
There will be a Filipino presence in this fight. Atty. Danrex Tapdasan will be one of the three judges, along with Gerardo Martinez of Puerto Rico and Deon Dwarte of South Africa. The third man in the ring will be Michael Ortega of the Unites States.
Parker weighed in at 245.75lbs while the taller, bigger Cojanu was at 274.75lbs.
There was an air of uncertainty more than a couple of weeks ago because Parker?s scheduled opponent, Hughie Fury, pulled out.
Cojanu, ranked number 14 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), fits the qualifications for the bout to be sanctioned as a world title fight, with the challenger being ranked in the top 15.
Parker won the title last December in a nail-biting majority decision over Andy Ruiz at the Vector Arena here in Auckland. Cojanu, born in Romania and living in the U.S., won the WBO Oriental heavyweight belt by knocking out Wu Zhiyu of China in two rounds also last December in Hangzhou.
WBO VP for Asia-Pacific Leon Panoncillo will be supervising the championship bout.
The main supporting bout will be for the WBO International and IBF East/West Europe light heavyweight title belts between Umar Salamov from Russia and Emil Markic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Atty. Tapdasan will be the third man in the ring with New Zealanders Ian Scott, Darcy Williams and Arnaru Harriman as the three judges.
Both boxers made weight, with Salamov at 174.75lbs and Markic a quarter of a pound lighter.
The bouts are supervised and sanctioned by the Professional Boxing Commission (PBC),International.
The supporting bouts will feature New Zealanders Jordan Tuigamala vs Nigel Elliot, John Parker vs Ratu Dawai, Aussies George Kambosos vs Qamil Balla and Ivana Siau of NZ vs Tim Tszyu of Australia.
The heavyweight division has become quite interesting with fans and sports writers buzzing about unifying the division after the scintillating bout between Anthony Joshua of the U.K. and Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine, trading knockdowns before Klitschko was stopped in the 11th round. Joshua (19-0,19KO?s) has the IBF and WBA super titles while Deontay Wilder (38-0,37KO?s) of the U.S has the WBC title.
If Parker hurdles Cojanu, that would lead to a scenario that every boxing fan has been dreaming about - three unbeaten
heavyweight titlists battling to be the unified champ.
Top photo: Challenger Razvan Cojanu and WBO heavyweight champ Joseph Parker (right) stare each other down during the weigh-in.
Bosnian Emil Markic and Russian Umar Salamov for the WBO Intl. and IBF Europe titles.
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