Joseph Parker's promoter is close to agreeing a deal with Hughie Fury's representatives on a world title fight between the pair which is likely to take place in the United Kingdom, and probably in Manchester, in September.
David Higgins had 30 days in which to negotiate a contract with Fury's promoter Frank Warren after New Zealand heavyweight and world champion Parker's unanimous points win over Razvan Cojanu in Auckland on May 6.
That window closed last Tuesday, but, given the two camps were so close to a deal, the WBO has extended the deadline by one week.
Higgins is positive the deal is only "days away", and that it would not have to go to purse bid, as the first deal did, with Duco Events winning the right to put the fight on in Parker's home town of Auckland before Fury pulled out with a back injury.
The fact the two sides are so close to agreement is significant after some difficult negotiations with Warren recently and the fact that Fury's withdrawal only weeks from the fight put Parker and Duco Events in an extremely difficult situation.
If and when the deal is signed, it will give Parker, still in Auckland, some much-needed clarity, and he will return to his Las Vegas base to train for the fight which will be his first in the United Kingdom but probably not his last.
Higgins told the Herald that he couldn't reveal any details, but that he had been working on other match-ups beyond the Fury fight, one of which is likely to include a lucrative bout against either Tony Bellew or David Haye.
Haye was initially slated as Parker's mandatory challenger after the Kiwi's victory over Andy Ruiz Jr late last year which secured him the vacant WBO heavyweight title. But the Brit instead opted to fight countryman Bellew, a cruiserweight who shocked nearly everyone by stopping an injured Haye in a dramatic fight in London in March.
Haye, recovering from the ruptured Achilles which so hampered him against Bellew, is keen on a re-match, and given his previous mandatory position, a big-money fight for Parker against the winner of that would make sense on nearly every level.
Bellew, a popular figure in his home city of Liverpool and beyond, now holds the advantage in terms of negotiating another fight with Haye, who could be ready to get in the ring before the end of the year.
Bellew told Boxing News today that Haye had to agree to his terms or the re-match wouldn't happen. "If he doesn't then so be it, I'll fight Joseph Parker for the heavyweight championship of the world," Bellew said.
It is understood that Fury wants a warm-up fight before facing Parker, but Higgins was adamant that he didn't want it to be too close to his man's title bout. After being burned last time, Higgins is right to be careful.
"They want him to have a fight beforehand and we have put parameters in the contract specifying that we don't want that to be too close to the Parker fight," Higgins told the Herald.