THE day before they stage Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Andy Ruiz Jnr in New York on Saturday (June 1), Matchroom Boxing unveiled a new heavyweight signing – former WBO titlist Joseph Parker.

Interestingly, Parker is a previous opponent of both Joshua and Ruiz. In December 2016, the New Zealander defeated Ruiz on a close majority decision in his home country to secure the vacant WBO crown. Fifteen months later, Parker attempted to unify his belt with Joshua’s WBA and IBF straps, but found himself on the wrong end of a unanimous points loss in Cardiff.

Since losing his title to Joshua, Parker has had two bouts. Ten months ago in London, he dropped a competitive unanimous verdict to top contender Dillian Whyte in what was his third consecutive appearance in the UK. Then in December, the 27-year-old returned to New Zealand to score a third-round KO victory over the outgunned Alexander Flores.

Parker, who boasts a 25-2 (19) record, is ranked at No. 6 in the WBC heavyweight ratings, where Deontay Wilder reigns as champion.

The Auckland native’s debut for Matchroom – with whom he has penned a three-fight deal – will take place on June 29 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The show’s main event sees Demetrius Andrade defend his WBO middleweight title against Maciej Sulecki. Also featuring is Kal Yafai, who puts his WBA super-flyweight championship on the line against Norbelto Jimenez.

Parker believes that in joining Matchroom, he has given himself “the best chance of achieving [his] goal of becoming a world champion again and unifying all of the belts to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”

Matchroom chief, Eddie Hearn, is looking forward to navigating Parker back to the heavyweight summit. The promoter said: “If Joseph performs the way we all know he can over these next three fights then he’ll have a strong case for some huge fights. He’s a young man with a great mix of experience and ambition, and this is a really exciting signing.”