Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Joseph Parker fight to be richest in NZ history

Joseph Parker. Photo / Nick Reed
Joseph Parker. Photo / Nick Reed

Joseph Parker's promoters are negotiating a deal which will see their Kiwi heavyweight's world title eliminator in Auckland in May set a record as the richest held in New Zealand.

The combined purse alone for Parker's clash against France-based Cameroon boxer Carlos Takam will be more than $1 million which will smash the previous record set by the so-called "Fight of the Century" between David Tua and Shane Cameron in 2009 in which both fought for a guaranteed purse of $500,000 each.

The Herald has seen an email sent by the International Boxing Federation to all promoters affiliated with the New Jersey-based organisation which says both Parker's promoters Duco Events and Takam's advisers have reached an agreement for the May 21 fight and that a purse bid -- which would have been triggered had the parties been unable to agree terms -- has been cancelled.

Duco's David Higgins said he didn't want to talk about the IBF email, saying "we're in a really delicate stage of negotiations for the fight", but confirmed the bout would be in Auckland and that it would be an expensive one for his organisation.

"There are no contracts signed yet but some terms have been agreed in principle," he said.

"We do know that the fight here is going to take a bucket-load of money [to put on]. We are going to have to part with more than $1 million just for the combined purse and that would make it the biggest purse ever for a fight in New Zealand, bigger than the David Tua v Shane Cameron fight in 2009 which was record breaking."

The Tua v Cameron fight at Mystery Creek in Hamilton, won by Tua by knockout in the second round, also holds the record as the most watched pay per view event in New Zealand. Given there is more at stake in the Parker v Takam bout -- the victor will fight the winner of the Charles Martin v Anthony Joshua IBF world heavyweight title fight -- this record, too, will be under threat.

As Parker, who is based in Las Vegas, has increased his profile significantly in the US and the UK over the past 12 months, his fight against Takam is also likely to be a hit with international viewers.

The best-case scenario for Duco will be that popular Briton Joshua wins his challenge against American Martin in London on April 9 and that Parker beats Takam, thereby setting up a fight between two of the most promising heavyweights in the world.

Tickets for Joshua v Martin at the 20,000-seat O2 Arena in London sold out in 90 seconds.

The news that Parker v Takam will be held at a yet-to-be-confirmed Auckland venue will disappoint some supporters in Christchurch and Invercargill but Duco has decided the event should be held in what Higgins described as "the biggest market".

Undefeated Parker, 24, who has fought 18 times as a professional, is said to be in top physical shape already after his short holiday in New Zealand in January which followed his knockout victory over Jason Bergman in Samoa.

- NZ Herald

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