After more than two weeks of lobbying behind the scenes to remove controversial referee Terry O’Connor from the Parker v Fury world title fight, Duco boss David Higgins has claimed something of a victory today with the British Boxing Board of Control compromising and replacing him with fellow Brit Marcus McDonnell.
McDonnell, a veteran of 814 fights, had previously been listed as a judge for the bout. O’Connor will now take McDonnell’s place as a judge alongside two Americans.
It is a victory for Duco Events who wanted O’Connor out of the ring because he had refereed Hughie Fury’s last two bouts. He had also overseen a bout involving Tyson Fury which was later described in The Guardian as “diabolical”.
Higgins controversially raised the issue in a heated exchange during yesterday’s press conference in London. He was later manhandled out by security.
Here’s what all concerned had to say on the matter:
DAVID HIGGINS – DUCO EVENTS – Joseph Parker’s Promoter
The British Boxing Board of Control has offered a compromise which we shall accept and I think regardless, the officials are going to be under a lot of scrutiny anyway because of all the fuss.
JOSEPH PARKER – WBO HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION
He definitely proved a point and everyone heard it so now I think everyone is aware.
KEVIN BARRY – PARKER’S TRAINER
I think Dave did a really good job getting the referee changed
The eyes of the world are going to be on these officials and I’m sure they’re going to want to be seen to be doing a good job, I think it would be very risky for any official to not be fair.
They (The BBBoC) were standing pretty steady over the last week to 10 days saying; ‘These are your officials, this is your referee, lump it” well we’ve got a change so I think good work by our team.
FRANCOIS BOTHA – FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER
If I was Joseph Parker, I would be delighted to have a man stand up for me like David Higgins did for his fighter.
In my boxing career, I had to basically stand up for myself, but to have a man like Higgins there stand up for his fighter, that’s what you want. Now he can do his fighting in the ring because outside of the ring, my fight has been done by my manager, my promoter.
Reporter: Could you be the new Don King of Boxing. Are we going to more of this again this week?
Higgins: No I’m honest