JOSEPH PARKER defends his WBO world heavyweight title against late substitute Razvan Cojanu in New Zealand this weekend after original opponent Hughie Fury pulled out through injury.

One week after Anthony Joshua unified the IBF and WBA titles in a hellacious win over Wladimir Klitschko, Parker will fight Cojanu at the Vodafone Events Centre in Auckland, with Sky Sports broadcasting in the UK.

Due to the time difference, their coverage starts at 11am UK time.

Should he prevail as expected, the unbeaten New Zealander is one of many attractive options for Joshua in his next fight later this year. Sky’s coverage of his fight should serve to boost Parker’s profile further.

The 25-year-old almost fought Joshua last year after becoming the IBF mandatory challenger with a win over Carlos Takam. However, an opportunity to box for the vacant WBO title against Andy Ruiz arose, and he elected to take that fight in New Zealand instead, defeating Ruiz on points.

Cojanu – with whom Parker has already shared countless rounds sparring with over the past few years – is a heavy underdog against the fast-punching Kiwi.

While Parker has intentions of fighting Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder in unification fights, he will eventually have to fight mandatory challenger Fury. Their bout is expected to be rescheduled should Parker win this weekend.