Boxing: Joseph Parker eyes Croatia's Filip Hrgovic, China's Zhilei Zhang after missing out on Anthony Joshua rematch

As the search for Joseph Parker's next opponent continues, the Kiwi heavyweight has dropped the names of two potential prospects.

Parker, 31, has gone on record multiple times stating his want to return to the ring as early as March, despite 2023 being the most active 12-month period in his career.

All up, the Kiwi fought four times last year, and finished with victory over former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder to rocket himself back into contention in the division.

Now, though, the only question is who he'll next line up against.

Joseph Parker against Deontay Wilder.
Joseph Parker against Deontay Wilder. Photo credit: Getty Images

Parker told Newshub last month he'd want a rematch against either Anthony Joshua or Andy Ruiz, having fought the pair in 2018 and 2016 respectively.

However, Joshua has since signed on to fight former mixed martial artist Francis Ngannou, as a means of staying active before eyeing the winner of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, who will unify the division in February.

Meanwhile Ruiz has no fights locked in for 2024 as of yet, after shoulder surgery in November.

Parker told TalkSport he's willing to fight either Croatia's Filip Hrgovic, or China's Zhilei Zhang.  

The Kiwi however, isn't picky as to who he'll next face.  

"All those names that have been chucked at us, we've said yes to every one of them," Parker said.  

"I think it's good to say yes and offer these fights, but there's things that happen behind the scenes that we have to work on, in terms of negotiations and things like that.

"Every name like Zhang, Hrgovic or anyone - whatever they've said, we've said yes to."

Hrgovic, 31, is currently ranked as the No.1 contender in the IBF division, and could loom as a potential mandatory fight for the winner of Fury, and title-holder Usyk.

The Croat has a record of 17 wins from 17 professional fights, with 14 victories by knockout.  

Meanwhile, Zhang boasts a record of 26 wins, one defeat and one draw as a professional.

The 40-year-old has already said he's willing to fight Parker, and is the WBO interim title-holder. Parker is currently ranked third by the WBO.

Zhang's most recent wins came against England's Joe Joyce, most recently winning by knockout in September 2023.  

Joyce was the last man to beat Parker, handing the Kiwi his first career knockout defeat in September 2022. Since that loss, though, Parker has four wins in his last four fights.  

Given Parker's success in Saudi Arabia, manager David Higgins told Newshub last month he could return to the Middle East for his next fight, wherever that may be.