Heavyweight champion Joseph Parker will not be heading to Japan before the end of the year as plans to fight again in 2017 have been shelved.
Promoter David Higgins had initially been looking to squeeze in a title defense in the months after Parker’s debated win over Hughie Fury, although the Duco boss says the focus is now on a contest in early 2018.
“The Japanese were very good and solid. They were very respectful and real in their wish to stage a fight there,” Duco Events boss David Higgins told Stuff.co.nz
“But their feedback in sounding out their broadcasters and sponsors, was that because Fujimoto’s profile is still building there and boxing hasn’t really been big since Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson there, they couldn’t quite put enough money on the table.
“So for us, it was do we rush something at short money and risk that world title or do we take our time and mount a something on our terms? Everyone in the team is quite comfortable with this decision.”
Higgins added that a spectacular offer could lead to a change of heart, although Anthony Joshua’s handler Eddie Hearn will be disappointed to learn that Parker is not aiming for a unification in the first quarter of next year.
“Look, if we got an offer we couldn’t refuse tomorrow we might be back on for December. But at this stage, realistically, we are looking at doing something on our terms in February or March.
“It certainly won’t be Anthony Joshua though. Eddie Hearn is dreaming with what he put out in the media.”
Hearn had stated Parker was top of the shortlist for Joshua’s targeted March outing, but as reported by WBN back in September, a more realistic option for the New Zealander would be the winner of Tony Bellew v David Haye II happening on December 17.