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Parker-Fury fight details set in stone

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/03/2017

Unbeaten Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker will face Australian veteran Bowie Tupou in Invercargill after a Japanese opponent pulled out. © Getty Unbeaten Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker will face Australian veteran Bowie Tupou in Invercargill after a Japanese opponent pulled out. Kiwi world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker will defend his WBO title for the first time on home soil.

The May 6 fight against Briton Hughie Fury will be held at Auckland's Vector Arena, the scene of his December title triumph over Mexican-American Andy Ruiz.

The bout, which is expected to draw an audience of 100 million, was originally set down by organisers Duco Events for early April, but had to be delayed after Fury stalled on the deal.

Parker (22-0) and Fury (20-0) are both unbeaten, although the 22-year-old Fury has not fought since April 2016.

"Joseph loves fighting at home in front of his Kiwi fans so we really wanted to give him that opportunity," Duco chief David Higgins said.

"We have bitten the bullet again and put our money where our mouths are to bring this event to New Zealand."

Duco confirmed the fight, which they secured with a purse bid of $4.35 million in February, will go ahead before Fury faces inquiries for allegedly failing a 2015 drugs test.

British media has reported Fury, who is expected to arrive in New Zealand in early April, tested positive to prohibited steroid nandrolone.

Higgins said the Manchester-based Fury, cousin of former world champion Tyson, was innocent until proven guilty.

Both fighters will undergo WADA-approved testing ahead of the fight.

Parker, for his part, said he'd been monitoring the progression of Fury closely in recent years and was happy to host the fight in the City of Sails.

The 25-year-old is currently Las Vegas-based, along with trainer Kevin Barry, but grew up in south Auckland.

"I would've fought him on his turf in Manchester if that's the way things had worked out but my promoters have done a great job," Parker said.

Barry said the 196cm Fury would be the toughest opponent of Parker's career with his height and reach advantage, as well as his power and speed.

Higgins also said that Parker's next goal, if successful, would be to fight the winner of the April 29 showdown in London between unbeaten Briton Anthony Joshua and Ukrainian legend Wladimir Klitschko.

Preliminary discussions have already taken place between Duco Events and the representatives of both Joshua and American WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

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