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Joseph Parker likely to face Alex Leapai on June 29

The former titleholder makes his Matchroom debut in Rhode Island.

Joseph Parker v Alexander Flores Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Joseph Parker, the former WBO heavyweight titleholder, is set to make his Matchroom debut on June 29 in Providence, Rhode Island, fighting on the Andrade-Sulecki undercard on DAZN.

The New Zealand fighter was set to face American veteran Eric Molina. Molina has pulled out of the fight and the search is on for a new opponent, with David Higgins telling Stuff that Alex Leapai is the frontrunner. Molina being pulled from the fight is being blamed on his promoter, Don King.

“Most of us thought Don King was dead but it turns out he’s alive and well. ... Along the way Molina’s on again then he’s off again, then he’s on again, then he’s off again and my understanding is the terms he’s been asking for are ridiculous.”

Parker (25-2, 19 KO) suffered back-to-back defeats in 2018, losing his belt to Anthony Joshua in March and then dropping a narrow and dramatic decision to Dillian Whyte in July. He returned to the ring in New Zealand on Dec. 15, knocking out Alexander Flores in the third round.

Leapai (32-7-4, 26 KO) is a 39-year-old Samoan from Australia, probably still best-known for a a world title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Leapai was grossly overmatched, dropped three times and stopped in five. He’s got a good right hand, but he hasn’t beaten anyone with a pulse since a 2013 win over Denis Boytsov, which set up the Klitschko fight, and hasn’t even really fought anyone with one since losing a decision to Mahmoud Charr in 2015.

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