Duco boxing boss David Higgins says he will know by tomorrow if a substitute fighter will line up against Joseph Parker in Auckland.

Englishman Hughie Fury pulled out of the May 6 WBO heavyweight contest, and Camp Fury has just released a statement citing a back injury. Duco says if no fight takes place, there will be a full refund for punters.

Higgins told Radio Sport this morning that he was "pretty confident" of finding a replacement who met the WBO standard - it must be a top 15 fighter "with credibility". There were three or four candidates, but he would not name them.

"You cut a deal quick, get him on a flight today potentially," he said.


"Otherwise we can cancel the event and take our time, line up something offshore for July/August.

"We don't want to put up a bunny."

Listen: David Higgins on the Radio Sport Breakfast

Ironically, Higgins predicted on air that Fury might cite a back problem. He was suspicious and believed there may be another reason, such as Fury being knocked out during sparring.

The Fury statement is apologetic saying: "It is with our deepest regret that we have to announce that the WBO World Heavyweight Championship between the Champion, Joseph Parker, and mandatory challenger, Hughie Fury...has been postponed.

"Hughie has been declared medically unfit to box following a medical assessment. He has suffered an injury to his lower back which has been a serious issue for the last 3 weeks that has left him unable to train to his full capacity.

"Despite receiving intense physiotherapy treatment and his desire to fight for the WBO World title, after seeing his physiotherapist last Friday he has been advised to rest for 3-4 weeks before resuming training.

"Understandably, Hughie is devastated by the injury which has temporarily halted his dream of fighting for the World Heavyweight Title, but the fight will be rescheduled and a new date will be announced shortly.

"Hughie and Team Fury wish to express their sincerest apologies to Joseph Parker, the WBO, the fans and public in New Zealand and to all the boxing fans around the world who had been looking forward to the highly anticipated fight."
Fury wrote an English newspaper column declaring his readiness to fight and beat Parker just a few days ago.

Higgins said: " I'll be honest I'm suspicious. We've run about 30 shows in New Zealand and this is the first time this has happened.

"From day one they didn't want to come to New Zealand, there have been fraught negotiations, it went to purse bid, it was difficult to get a contract.

"If you are going to invent an injury back pain is the best...it's very hard to prove."

He said Parker was angry and frustrated, but also philosophical. The fighter would have a big say in the next move.

"He is fully trained, champing at the bit, in great shape, ready to fight," Higgins said.