Put up or shut up - Parker’s promoter
Joseph Parker promoter David Higgins says he won’t be ‘‘lowballed’’ by rival Eddie Hearn and has hit back at the credentials of the Brit’s heavyweight stable of Anthony Joshua and Tony Bellew.
Hearn has repeatedly questioned Parker’s marketability in the United Kingdom after the Kiwi’s difficult WBO world title defence against Hughie Fury in Manchester late last month.
Eager to have his IBF and WBA champion Joshua fight a unification bout with Parker, or have Bellew take on the Kiwi, Hearn now sees Parker as a hard sell.
Hearn believes people see Parker against Joshua as a mismatch and feels even the value of a Parker-Bellew fight has ‘‘diminished’’ on the back of the Kiwi’s performance against Fury, his third victory in a row without a knockout finish. The brash Bellew, who has a lucrative rematch against David Haye in December, believes he could ‘‘beat Joseph Parker in my sleep’’.
Higgins is furious at the criticism of his man, feeling it is unwarranted and has basically told Hearn to put up or shut up. Higgins turned the tables on Hearn who he believes is trying to cut his costs over any potential tangles with Parker.
‘‘It’s become apparent that Eddie and his two bigger named boxers are all levelling various criticisms at Joseph Parker ... the boxers suggesting he is beatable and Eddie talking down the fight a bit, probably wanting to pay less,’’ Higgins told yesterday.
‘‘We aren’t going to have Eddie Hearn low-ball us because we are from New Zealand or because he didn’t like the Hughie Fury fight.’’
Parker has one of the four genuine belts and that is marketable in itself. Joshua defends his belts against Kubrat Pulev in Cardiff later this month with the fight at Millennium Stadium almost sold out.
Higgins is adamant Joshua’s confrontational approach would suit Parker far better than Fury’s hit and run tactics.
‘‘Joshua’s style is more square-up, come forward, so the question for Eddie Hearn is, if Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua stand in front of each other trading, who is more likely to go down? Based on the facts, it looks like that might be Joshua.
‘‘Look, it could go either way and Eddie Hearn will know that ... it’s the heavyweight division and any heavyweight can knock out an opponent with the perfect punch.
‘‘So that’s why we are quite excited about the Joshua possibility. But it’s it a fight we would only take if the deal was right. We won’t be low-balled.’’
Higgins believed some perspective needed to be put on the recent majority points win over Fury.
‘‘The reality is Hughie Fury is incredibly awkward. His own father said to us after the fight that people just don’t understand how awkward Hughie can be,’’ Higgins said.
In the meantime, Higgins is working on finalising a December opponent for Parker, looking to keep him active.
He hopes to have that sorted out next week.