Eddie Hearn: Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker heavyweight title fight deal getting closer
Anthony Joshua already owns two heavyweight titles, but he has his eyes set on a third.
His promoter, Eddie Hearn, has been in talks with WBO heavyweight titleholder Joseph Parker’s promoter, David Higgins of Duco Events, to finalize the unification title fight for springtime in the U.K.
Higgins held a news conference Wednesday in Parker’s home country of New Zealand and laid out their demands for the fight. They also showed highlights of Joshua being hurt in fights as proof the British star owns a questionable chin.
“The deal must be open book revenue share,” Higgins said. “In good faith we have moved down from our opening 40% position. This demonstrates we genuinely want to unify and will put it all on the line. Our revised non-negotiable bottom line is 35% of net profit.
” … Unification happens maybe once every 10 years and has special value. Joseph Parker is a genuine world champion and has earned the right to a fair purse and a respectable 35% share of an historic unification bout. Joshua has stated repeatedly he wants to unify the heavyweight division this year. If they are sincere then Eddie Hearn needs to make a fight with Parker or (Deontay) Wilder.”
Wilder is beating the drums loudly for a meeting with Joshua that would feature two of the most fearsome punches in boxing. But the WBC titleholder admitted during a lunch in Los Angeles that week that he doubted the fight would happen in the first half of 2018.
And besides, Joshua-Wilder is the true money bout, not Joshua-Parker. If Joshua (20-0, 20 knockouts) fights Parker and upends him, as expected, that would make a fight with Wilder that much bigger and would crown the division’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis held the three recognized belts (the WBO belt wasn’t a significant title at that time).
“We are getting closer on a deal, but holding a press conference in a broom cupboard with a promotional video that looks like it’s been done by my eight-year-old daughter is not the one, in terms of justifying your commercial value,” Hearn told Sky Sports. Joshua is coming off a 10th-round stoppage of Carlos Takam in October. “Negotiations are ongoing and we are hoping a deal can be reached.”
Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) has looked vulnerable since he won the vacant title in a close-decision victory over Andy Ruiz in December. The 25-year-old was taken the distance by unknown heavyweight Razvan Cojanu and then struggled to a majority decision win over Hughie Fury, the cousin of RING heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
So it’s no surprise that Higgins wants Parker to fight Joshua now and secure the massive payday, rather than wait.
“If Joshua takes a hand-picked voluntary (title defense) it will be embarrassing for Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn. It would prove that for Joshua and Hearn it’s more about money than unifying the division,” Higgins said. ” … We are offering Hearn and Joshua 65% of a very big pie.
“If they take the weak option and go for a voluntary they are choosing to grab 80% or 90% of a very small pie. A voluntary would lack any credibility after their stated desire to unify.”