Heavyweight world titleholder Joseph Parker and his team said they still hope to finalize a unification fight against two-belt titleholder Anthony Joshua and claim they have reduced their demands in an effort to get a deal done.
At a news conference on Wednesday in Parker's home country of New Zealand, Duco Events promoter David Higgins laid out the particulars of what they are seeking for what would be one of the most significant fights in the division.
"The deal must be open book revenue share," Higgins said. "In good faith we have moved down from our opening 40 percent position. This demonstrates we genuinely want to unify and will put it all on the line. Our revised non-negotiable bottom line is 35 percent of net profit."
Higgins said that he continues to negotiate the bout with Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing but also said they still have options for other fights. Parker would like to unify titles but Higgins said they are "entering a conditional contract with (Australia's) Lucas Browne as we speak" as a backup plan.
In addition, Higgins said they still have "lucrative offers from China and Russia in the works. If Joshua is willing to unify on fair terms then Parker fights him."
If Joshua-Parker is made, the fight likely would take place in the spring in Joshua's home country of the United Kingdom. It is the fight that Parker and his team insist that they want but only for what they regard as a fair deal. Higgins said that means 35 percent of the pot.
"Joshua has two of the major belts, Parker has one of the major belts. Unification happens maybe once every 10 years and has special value," he said. "Joseph Parker is a genuine world champion and has earned the right to a fair purse and a respectable 35 percent 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 (American titleholder Deontay) Wilder.
"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. ... We are offering Hearn and Joshua 65 percent of a very big pie. If they take the weak option and go for a voluntary they are choosing to grab 80 percent or 90 percent of a very small pie. A voluntary would lack any credibility after their stated desire to unify."
Hearn, not one to be bullied into a deal, was unimpressed by the Parker team's news conference but said they continue to make progress toward the fight.
"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 8-year-old daughter is not the one, in terms of justifying your commercial value," Hearn told the UK's Sky Sports, where Matchroom Boxing has an exclusive deal to put on its fights. "Negotiations are ongoing and we are hoping a deal can be reached."
Joshua, 28, is perhaps the biggest global star in boxing, having drawn big pay-per-view numbers in the UK and enormous sold-out crowds for his past two fights, 90,000 to Wembley Stadium in London for his epic 11th-round knockout of former longtime unified world champion Wladimir Klitschko in April and 78,000 to Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, for a 10th-round stoppage of former Parker opponent Carlos Takam on Oct. 28. Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, has made four title defenses and is the money man of the division.
Parker (24-0, 18 KOs), 25, won a vacant title by decision over Andy Ruiz Jr. in New Zealand 11 months ago. He has made two defenses, a lopsided decision against Razvan Cojanu in New Zealand on May 6 and then traveled to Manchester, England, and won a majority decision against mandatory challenger Hughie Fury in his hometown on Sept. 23.