Duco's David Higgins, after going public with his concerns about the officials appointed to Joseph Parker's world title defence against Hughie Fury, joked to the Herald that this fight was "the gift that keeps on giving" but in reality he will be pleased when it's all over.

It has been a difficult fight from the opening negotiations - a rollercoaster, Higgins called it, with Fury pulling out of the first scheduled bout in Auckland in May at the last moment claiming a back injury.

Now the British Boxing Board of Control in all its wisdom has appointed a British referee, supervisor and three judges for the fight in Manchester a week on Sunday, WBO and Duco be damned despite the move effectively breaking the fight contract.

It is a decision which will potentially damage the credibility of the sport even further, another blow for this particular fight which has been promoted in shambolic fashion by Fury's backers.


About 3000 seats have apparently been sold at Manchester Arena - not a problem for Higgins and Duco, who will gain their revenue from international and domestic television rights and pay per view sales - but not great in terms of promoting Parker to a wider audience.

Reassuringly for Duco, one of the company's lawyers is in possession of Parker's seven-figure fight purse.

Should Fury win by decision then his victory will be forever tainted by accusations of bias.

Should Parker win - and if Terry O'Connor, the man who has been in charge of Fury's last two fights, really does control this one as scheduled then a knockout for the New Zealander could be imperative - then he and Duco will be happy to move on to bigger and better things, happy in the knowledge they won't need to deal with the Furys again (unless cousin Tyson makes an unlikely comeback).

For Parker's fight against Andy Ruiz Jr for the vacant WBO world title there was an American referee - the experienced Tony Weeks - and three neutral judges. It was a fight which went the full 12 rounds and was awarded to Parker via majority decision, one that caused controversy, a fallout which would have been exponentially worse had the third man in the ring and three judges been New Zealanders.

The same neutrality applied in Parker's first title defence - against Razvan Cojanu in May - so for BBBoC and Fury's promoters to decide on O'Connor and three Brits ringside reeks of a stitch-up.

Hyperbole and professional boxing are familiar bedfellows but Higgins' comments today seemed justified when he said:

"Mr O'Connor refereed Hughie Fury's last two fights, so it is patently inappropriate for him to have any influence over this world title fight.

"We might have expected this sort of thing had the bout been held in a banana republic, but to see this lack of neutrality and fair play in a nation like Great Britain is staggering."