Joseph Parker has revealed that he will be sticking with Duco Events promoter David Higgins until the end of his boxing career.
The former WBO world heavyweight champion's promotional contract with Higgins' company expires next month and the pair are negotiating a new one.
There has been regular conjecture in the boxing world about whether New Zealander Parker would be better served by siding with high-profile promoters such as Englishman Eddie Hearn or American Bob Arum, but the 27-year-old believes the occasionally controversial Higgins deserves his loyalty.
"The contract with Duco finishes at the end of March," Parker told the Herald. "But with the relationship we have and what we've been able to achieve with my career … in locking in the big fights and always doing what they say they will do – they will always be involved in some form.
"At the moment we are negotiating and seeing what's best for both of us. For me personally, it's going to be a relationship that will be ongoing until the end of my career. They took us to the title and I think a bit of loyalty comes into play."
Higgins and Duco were quick to take advantage of the stripping of Tyson Fury's belts when they negotiated a world title challenge against Andy Ruiz Jr for the vacant WBO belt at the end of 2016 which Parker won in Auckland by majority decision.
And it was Higgins who got Parker noticed by continually mocking Anthony Joshua's "glass jaw", a tactic which was criticised at the time but Hearn himself said the fight in Cardiff last year probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. The points loss was Parker's first as a professional but the fight in front of a crowd of 80,000 spectators earned him more than $NZ10million.
Before the Hughie Fury fight, which preceded the Joshua defeat, Higgins made headlines by turning up late to a press conference while under the influence of alcohol and accusing Fury's trainer and father Peter of various things. It angered Peter but the outburst served to change the referee for the fight in Manchester which Parker won on points and Higgins and Peter Fury now have a good relationship.
Higgins also regularly keeps in touch with Tyson Fury.
Parker told the Herald on Sunday: "David is good at what he does and he's good at dealing with Hearn and the others. He has my best interests at heart. We put a lot of trust in him."
Higgins is in the midst of negotiating with Hearn a fight against Englishman Dereck Chisora in London on April 20 which Parker hopes is close to being signed off because time is ticking by and he wants at least a nine-week lead-in.
Should the fight at the O2 Arena eventuate (and the window for Higgins and Hearn to come to terms is quickly closing) it will be the main event of a card which probably won't be a pay per view event in the United Kingdom.
In December in Christchurch, Parker bounced back from his loss to Dillian Whyte in London five months earlier with a savage knockout of Alexander Flores and he believes a fight against the durable Chisora would help send him back into title contention. Parker now has a 25-2 professional record and wants to keep fighting for several years yet.
"It's our priority option," Parker confirmed. "I said to David that I want to lock in something very soon because if I lock it in tomorrow it will give me nine weeks of training. I need a minimum of seven weeks in Vegas and two weeks in the UK so it's very close to happening.
"He's a dangerous fighter. It's a risky fight. He puts on a lot of pressure and throws a lot of punches. With the last fight he had against Dillian Whyte, he was leading the fight before he got knocked out."
Asked about Chisora as a potential route back to the top, Parker said: "Fury and [WBC champion Deontay] Wilder are busy. Joshua is going to fight Big Baby [Jarrell] Miller. David Price has got a fight. Lucas Browne has got a fight. The only other person at the top is Luis Ortiz but I think he's going to be signed up for a fight soon.
"For me, looking at the top 10 or 15 in the world, Chisora is right up there, the only one that is free and the only one willing to take the fight."