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No taxpayer funds sought for Parker fight

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/10/2016

Duco Events didn't want to become "pariahs in our own country" so has have withdrawn its bid for the taxpayer to part-fund Joseph Parker's world title fight.

Officials from Duco Events say the application to the government's New Zealand Major Events fund had created public division which it regrets.

"We're not prepared to become pariahs in our own country just for the sake of getting some government money," co-owner David Higgins said.

"It is clear it has become political dynamite, a real political football.

"We're aware our business does rely on goodwill. That's important, we do not take it for granted."

Higgins says the chance of unbeaten Kiwi Parker's WBO fight against Mexican Andy Ruiz being held in Auckland has dipped.

However, they will continue to pursue commercial backers and have been given a November 5 deadline to make a decision by Ruiz's promoter Bob Arum. The fight is scheduled for December 10.

Arum has said he could put on a money-spinning fight in Dallas or Las Vegas.

Higgins labelled comments by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce about the application for event funding "silly".

"He put out there that 'if we gave you money' ... in return they'd want profile, visitation, investment opportunities, hospitality, it would go in the contract, we'd have to deliver all that," he said.

"So they've give us some money, we'd deliver all of that, and then he suggested we'd give the money back - effectively a partnership with us to sponsor it for free.

"It was not us being the freeloaders - to me that's freeloading; reap the benefit of the event but then get the money back.

Dean (Lonergan) and I just got frustrated in the end."

Higgins says his company isn't immune to taking risks and stressed he and Parker are very keen to have home town advantage.

However, he wants the public fully behind what would be the first significant world title fight in New Zealand.

"We think if this event does happen in New Zealand, it should be inclusive, and certainly not divisive.

"It should be celebrated as a landmark sporting achievement and (showcase) New Zealand's event capability."

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