Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker.
For the first time in five year, Joseph Parker is being ranked in the WBA rankings.
As the boxing community knows, there are four major boxing bodies including, WBO, WBC, IBF and of course WBA.
This also means for the first time in five years, Joseph Parker is ranked in top 15 in all organisations.
So why did it take so long for Parker to rank in the rankings?
To look at this question, we need to look at the relationship between Joseph Parker's team, David Higgins and WBA.
Joseph Parker's first regional title he won after his national title, was the interim WBA - PABA Heavyweight title which he won in Germany against the brazilian Marcelo Nascimento in 2014.
Since then, he has defended the title in every fight (except one fight in the USA).
The WBA-PABA title has now been retired, with Sam Rapira in the light heavyweight division being the last champion in 2017.
In 2015, one of Parker's biggest achievements was his battle against Kali Meehan, where five regional title belts were on the line.
How rankings work with most sanctioning bodies is you fight for a regional title in any of the major four organisations to secure yourself in the top 15, and you regularly defend the title to increase the rankings in hopes to one day get a world title shot.
In the lead up to this fight, WBA promised Parker’s team that if he defended his WBA-PABA title and fought for the vacant WBA Oceania heavyweight title, Parker would get an increase in the WBA rankings.
Parker indeed did this against Kali Meehan and won in Knockout style, however, WBA did not increase the rankings for Parker.
David Higgins was incredibly upset by this, which led to a breakdown of communication and trust between the team and WBA.
Since then, David Higgins won't work with WBA again.
WBA did keep Parker in the rankings and even increased the rankings at one point.
However, in 2016, WBA removed Joseph Parker from the rankings and has never been seen near WBA again.
The interesting thing about this is that not only did the relationship breakdown mean no rankings for Parker, it also harmed New Zealand boxing as a whole.
WBA has never had a regional title in New Zealand again since the Joseph Parker vs Kali Meehan fight.
It is surprising that it harmed New Zealand, especially since WBA Oceania is based in New Zealand and there are multiple contenders in New Zealand that could fight for the WBA Oceania title.
On top of that, we have had three boxers at one point in the top five of the WBA Heavyweight women rankings, and WBA themselves have said they would have loved to have a New Zealander vs New Zealander fight for the WBA world title.
That almost happened with Alrie Meleisea vs Lani Daniels, however, so many problems were surrounding that fight, which led to that breaking apart.
So the question is, has Joseph Parker's team and David Higgins mend the bridges with WBA?
Or is it WBA trying to create more legitimate rankings themselves, removing people like Christopher Lovejoy.
Or is there a future plan in Parker's career that might involve WBA?