Joseph Parker won a heavyweight world title in front of his home fans in Auckland, New Zealand, and his first defense will also take place in the comforts of home.
Duco Events, Parker's co-promoter, won a purse bid for Parker's mandatory title defense against England's Hughie Fury on Friday at WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and said it plans to stage the fight on April 1 in Auckland.
Duco Events, which co-promotes Parker with Top Rank, won the auction with an offer of $3.011 million to gain promotional rights to the bout. By winning the purse bid, Duco Events has the right to pick the date and location of the fight as well as control all the other logistics of the event. Frank Warren, Fury's promoter, who'd hoped to take the fight to England, was the only other bidder. He offered $2.8 million. The minimum bid was $1 million.
Per the WBO's ruling at its 2016 convention, Parker will be entitled to 60 percent of the winning bid ($1,806,600), and Fury will receive the remaining 40 percent ($1,204,400).
"April 1 is the target date for Auckland, and Joseph Parker isn't planning on fooling around [on April Fool's Day]," said Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank, who attended the purse bid and will work with Duco Events on the promotion. "It should be a very entertaining heavyweight fight with the winner clearly positioning himself for a unification fight later in 2017."
The Fury family will have a chance to reclaim one of the heavyweight world title belts vacated by troubled Tyson Fury last fall because of his issues with alcohol and drugs as well as his mental health issues. Hughie Fury is Tyson's first cousin.
After Tyson Fury relinquished his belts, Parker (22-0, 18 KOs), 25, of New Zealand, won a majority decision against Andy Ruiz Jr. on Dec. 10 in Auckland to claim one of the vacant titles.
Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs), 22, of England, hopes to follow in his cousin's footsteps by winning a world title, but he has not faced close to the caliber of competition that Parker has. Fury is coming off a seventh-round technical decision victory against rugged veteran Fred Kassi last April.