Joseph Parker showed no signs of relief when his maiden WBO heavyweight title defense was confirmed for his home of New Zealand on Wednesday.
The undefeated champion, who won the title against Andy Ruiz in December, revealed he’d have happily taken on mandatory challenger Hughie Fury in Manchester had the deal for both sides made sense to do so.
“I’m thrilled that I’ll now have the chance to defend my title in Auckland,” Parker said.
“Hughie Fury is a great young fighter. I’ve followed his development closely because I always knew we’d meet sooner rather than later. I would have fought him on his turf in Manchester if that is the way things had worked out, but my promoters have done a great job in giving me the chance to make the first defence of my title at home in Auckland.
“I aim to make the most of that opportunity,” he added.
Trainer Kevin Barry gave his thoughts on the bout now that Parker can concentrate solely on keeping his belt against the 20-0 (10K.O.) 1.96m Fury, who represents the toughest test in the title holder’s career.
“Hughie Fury is an incredibly dangerous customer,” Barry said. “His father Peter has managed him superbly, bringing him along nicely while much of the attention has been on his cousin Tyson. As a regular member of Tyson’s camp, Hughie has been able to see first-hand what world heavyweight championship boxing is all about.
“And it should be noted that both Hughie and Tyson have yet to be defeated as professional fighters.”