Boxing: Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker to fight American Shawndell Winters in March

Joseph Parker, former WBO heavyweight champion
Joseph Parker, former WBO heavyweight champion Photo credit: Photosport

Kiwi Joseph Parker has his next opponent, but probably not the name he wanted.

The former WBO heavyweight champion will fight American Shawndell Winters on March 1 in Texas.

ESPN boxing pundit Dan Rafael reported the Kiwi would fight on the undercard to welterweights Mikey Garcia v Jessie Vargas - an Eddie Hearn-promoted event. 

Winters has a 13-2 professional record and is riding a five-fight winning streak, including a recent knockout of undefeated prospect Oleksandr Teslenko in September.

But the American doesn't bring with him much heavyweight fanfare, which means the pressure is on Parker to dismantle Winters in quick time.

The 28-year-old Aucklander was linked to high-profile fights with Dillian Whyte, Oleksandr Usyk, Daniel Dubois, Andy Ruiz and Marius Wach, but has had to settle for the WBA's 14th-ranked contender.

A win for Parker won't do much for his standing among the growing list of heavyweight contenders, but it would leave him in position to fight Usyk later in the year. 

The two sluggers are currently ranked No.1 and No.2 in the WBO, which is ruled by Brit Anthony Joshua, who may be forced to vacate his title with an IBF defence imminent against Kubrat Pulev.

That would leave Parker and Usyk to fight for the crown that the Kiwi lost in a 2018 unification bout against Joshua.

Parker has won two straight since back-to-back defeats at the hands of Matchroom Boxing stablemates Joshua and Whyte, but is in serious need of mementium with his profile waning due to inactivity.

Parker fought just once in 2019 - a dominant TKO win over Australian Alex Leapai.

Winters. a renowned power-puncher, has scored 12 stoppages in 13 career wins.