Parker gives sparring partner WBO title shot

New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker on Wednesday drafted in former sparring partner Razvan Cojanu of Romania for his first world title defence after original opponent Hughie Fury pulled out injured.

Razvan Cojanu, 30, is ranked 14th by the WBO and has a 16-2 win-loss record.   -  AP (Representational Image)

New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker on Wednesday drafted in former sparring partner Razvan Cojanu of Romania for his first world title defence after original opponent Hughie Fury pulled out injured. Parker's camp was left scrambling to find a replacement after Fury's late withdrawal from the May 6 bout in Auckland for the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) crown.

Promoter Duco Events said Cojanu was the only credible fighter available at such short notice. Cojanu, 30, is ranked 14th by the WBO and has a 16-2 win-loss record. Parker, who boasts a 22-0 record, including 18 knock-outs, said taking on Cojanu was a major risk because the Romanian had an inside view of his preparation.

"To me, he's a lot more dangerous than Hughie because he knows my style and techniques," the 25-year-old told Radio Sport.

Parker said he was willing to consider calls from World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder for a unification bout, but that the American was not available to fight on May 6. "If he was ready then I'd fight him but I guess he wanted more time to prepare," he said. "If everything goes well and I do keep the title we can sit down and negotiate to unify the belts... I'm not afraid of anyone."