Joseph Parker and his team have declared themselves happy to fight in the United Kingdom again despite the controversies which have followed his last three fights including his latest defeat to Dillian Whyte.

A headbutt from Whyte in the second round, which was presumably not seen by English referee Ian John Lewis, changed the course of the fight, which Parker lost by unanimous decision after a late rally.

Had Lewis ruled the knockdown as an illegal blow, Parker would have won the round and potentially drawn the fight. But to compound matters, French judge Christophe Fernandez awarded the first round to Whyte despite Parker dominating it from start to finish.

Such is promoter Eddie Hearn's growing power in the sport, the risks for overseas boxers fighting one of his men in England are probably only going to increase. Hearn, too, has an almost unlimited budget to push boxing in the United States and fighters and officials both will want to be a part of that.


But after a close win over Hughie Fury and odd calls in his losses to Anthony Joshua and Whyte, Parker's promoter David Higgins said the UK was still a viable market.

"I honestly don't think Eddie Hearn is behind the bias but I think there is an unconscious bias," Higgins told the Herald after confirming he wouldn't appeal the result of the Whyte fight in London. "Three controversies in a row – people will say we're whinging and making excuses but it's not fair to Joseph. Three consecutive fights we've had a level of controversy and even a level of disgrace. I think most people would say that's unfair.

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker during a press conference at promoters Duco, Auckland, New Zealand. Photo Andrew Cornaga /
New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker during a press conference at promoters Duco, Auckland, New Zealand. Photo Andrew Cornaga /

"What can we do about it? We've tried a neutral referee, we've tried the so-called best British referee, we've made a fuss about it publicly. I think even Eddie Hearn and his father Barry would say we haven't had the rub of the green.

"But that's the sport we're in. We've decided to take it on the chin, if you'll excuse the pun, and get on with the job. Does it make us worried we'll never get a fair go up there? Yes of course. But it's that whole home-town advantage thing, we're going into British territory fighting British fighters. They're not going to do us any favours."

Parker said with masterful understatement: "I love fighting there because it's the heavyweight scene. I'm not saying the officials were bad but some fouls weren't called…"

So it is onwards for Parker and Higgins and hopefully, for them, upwards. Higgins said there are plenty of offers for fights for Parker, including in the United States.

"It could easily be here or abroad," he said. "I would say it's 50-50. I've only just started doing due diligence. It's early days."

Asked whether Australian Lucas Browne, knocked out by Whyte in March, was a potential opponent, Higgins said: "There are a few names in the mix and his name has been suggested, but there are a few names that would work."


A domestic fight against Junior Fa was an option, Higgins admitted. However, the undefeated Fa has struggled recently – and particularly in his last win over Mexican Luis Pascual in June, a fight he went into with an elbow injury.

"I think based on the way Junior fought in his last fight it's too soon," Higgins said. "It would lack credibility. I believe he may have had some health problems before his last fight. If he gets healthy and gets some good wins then we could look at that in the future."