Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Joseph Parker set for $2m payday against Hughie Fury

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker celebrates his win over Andy Ruiz Jr. Photo / Photosport.co.nz
New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker celebrates his win over Andy Ruiz Jr. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

In winning the right to promote Joseph Parker's first defence of his WBO heavyweight title, his handlers have guaranteed the New Zealander the biggest payday of his career, one that will reap him more than $2million.

After weeks of futile negotiations, Duco Events won the purse bid in Puerto Rico overnight against Hughie Fury's promoter Frank Warren with a bid of $US3,011,000 (about $NZ4,100,000) to $US2,800,000 (about $NZ3,800,000). Parker will take 60 per cent of the winning bid (about $NZ2,400,000), regardless if he wins or loses. His opponent, Englishman Fury, will take the rest.

For Parker, who turned professional only in 2012, it means the big money is starting to roll in, although it also means Duco will have to pull out all stops in order to finance the fight, including selling television rights, pay per views and sponsorship.

It also means the fight will be held on April 1 and probably in Auckland, although Duco's David Higgins today refused to rule out other locations, including Samoa.

The Samoan government have already agreed to help fund Parker's defence, the big question is whether the New Zealand government, so reluctant to get involved in Parker's world title victory over Mexican Andy Ruiz at Auckland's Vector Arena in November, follows suit.

While Auckland, the place of Parker's birth, will be Duco's preferred location for the fight against the undefeated Fury, if Duco draw another blank from local and central government, a fight in Apia or elsewhere offshore is not out of the question.

For Higgins it was a sleepless night in the lead-up to the opening of the bids at the WBO headquarters in Puerto Rico. Duco's bid travelled in a sealed envelope with a company employee as Higgins continued to negotiate on the phone with Warren. In the end, no compromise could be reached, and it was left to who was prepared to part with the most money.

"We're very pleased," Higgins told the Herald. "There was so much at stake. We have worked so hard for so many years and invested so much, and Joseph puts his body on the line so often... if we had lost that purse bid we would have lost all control."

Higgins said the bid was guess-work - "You have to hope that A, it's enough to beat them out, and B, it's not so much that we'll take a bath.

"It would be nice to hold it in New Zealand and it would be nice to hold it in Auckland, but we're not sure."

The important thing for Duco and Parker is that the New Zealanders are in control. Had Warren won the bid, the fight would have almost certainly been in Manchester, and all television rights and other revenue streams would have been ceded to the opposition.

Home advantage, so important for Parker against Ruiz Jr, a close fight he won by majority decision, could again be crucial.

Higgins said: "The Furys really didn't want to come to New Zealand, that was clear."

Tyson Fury, Hughie's cousin who lost his WBO belt, along with the WBA version, due to his mental health and illegal drug-use issues last year, is of the opinion Hughie will be too good for Parker, tweeting his prediction of a points loss for the Kiwi.


- NZ Herald

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