A heavyweight title unification between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker is nearly a done deal after the promoters for both fighters finally agreed to a purse split, as reported by ESPN. David Higgins of Duco Events, who represents Parker, said he’s now received a formal contract offer for the fight.
"The fight has never been closer. We're a lot closer now to a deal because we've had a major breakthrough, which is that the two camps have formally agreed on the split," Higgins told ESPN in a phone interview from his home country of New Zealand. "The Joshua side made a small concession, and the Parker side has made a small concession."
Higgins had been negotiating a purse split for his fighter quite publicly. He first started with a ‘non-negotiable’ demand of 40% of the revenue, which Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn predictably scoffed at. Once that demand went nowhere fast, Higgins then lowered his demands to another ‘non-negotiable’ 35%. That too wouldn’t get very far.
So eventually Higgins says he had to concede a little bit more, claiming that the agreed upon split would be between 30-35% for his side, but wouldn’t give the exact number. He did say, however, that it was close to the middle of that, so I’ll just go ahead and presume it’s a 32.5% share of the revenue for Parker.
No date or location for the fight has been agreed upon as of yet, but Higgins says it would take place between March 31 and April 28 with the United Kingdom being the most likely location for the event.
With the money aspect of the fight all sorted out, the remaining negotiations are mostly centered around the officiating for the fight. Higgins would prefer three neutral judges to score the bout, while Hearn is said to want one judge from the U.K. (Joshua’s home country), one from New Zealand (Parker’s home country) and one from neutral soil. That doesn’t appear like it will be a point that will get hung up on, though.
"My gut feeling is there will be a deal. We're only haggling over officials," he said. "We'll have to have a discussion with the British Boxing Board of Control [which regulates the sport in the U.K.]. I'm also happy to have the sanctioning bodies nominate a pool of officials. But even with that, we're very close to a deal."
The promoters have also agreed to random VADA drug testing for the bout, as well as a rematch clause for Joshua in case he were to lose to Parker. Higgins in particular had no problem with the rematch clause, saying Joshua deserves it as the A-side of the promotion.
So now with the biggest obstacle in making the fight out of the way, Higgins is expected to fly back to the U.K. in the next week to finalize the deal between the two heavyweight titlists. God speed.