Boxing: Joseph Parker set for October ring return, claims promoter Eddie Hearn

Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker seems likely to return to the ring in October, with promoter Eddie Hearn close to finalising a "great fight" for the former WBO heavyweight champion. 

Hearn and his Matchroom Boxing team have been putting in the long hours, as they plan their promotional debut in New Zealand, along with streaming service DAZN.

During coronavirus, Hearn has helped bring boxing back to the world by staging fights behind closed doors in the garden of his childhood home - now Matchroom's headquarters -  after the pandemic put all fights on hold earlier in the year. 

Parker hasn't fought in New Zealand since December 2018, when he beat American Alexander Flores in Christchurch. Since then, he's only fought twice, with wins over Aussie-Samoan Alex Leipai and most recently American Shawndell Winters in March. 

"Parker is due to fight in New Zealand, which is a project we're working on," Hearn has told IFL TV. 

"It will be our first show in New Zealand and we're planning a great fight for him.

"Looks like it'll be in October. It'll be a major coup to get this over the line."

Under current COVID-19 restrictions in New Zealand, a fight would have to take place outside the Auckland region, although anywhere else, up to 100 people could be in the arena. 

In May, Parker's manager David Higgins said Queenstown was a likely option, although Hearn hasn't gone into any details on the exact location. 

Due to current travel restrictions, Parker's potential opponents are limited, but fighters previously mentioned include Australian duo Lucas Browne and Demsey McKean', or Kiwi Junior Fa. 

While a fight between Parker and Fa would be a Kiwi classic, money has been the major sticking issue during negotiations earlier in the year.

In May, Fa's manager, Mark Keddell, told Newshub they want a third of the total purse. With Parker reportedly making NZ$2 million a fight, Keddell believes his charge should be valued at about NZ$1million, given his undefeated record and current WBO ranking of sixth.