Hearn: Ready To “Overpay” For Joshua-Parker
Eddie Hearn who acts as the promoter for IBF, IBO, WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, told reporters that a deal is “very close” for a unification with WBO world champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs).
Hearn says they are ready to “overpay” to make the contest happen, with a likely date in the first quarter of 2018, leaning towards March.
The two sides have been in a stalemate for the past several weeks regarding a financial split of 65-35 in favor of Joshua. Initially Parker’s team at Duco Boxing demanded a 50-50 split, then 60-40 and now are standing firm at 65-35 with Parker’s team refusing to go down any lower.
On Sunday, Parker revealed that some headway was being made with both sides getting closer to a deal.
Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who has options on Parker, says a deal is nearly done for March.
Hearn has confirmed Arum’s comments this week, revealing that Matchroom is ready to kick in more money to make this fight happen.
“We’re close,” Hearn exclusively told Sky Sports. “We’re at a stage now where we’re having to compromise on certain points that we don’t really want to, but ultimately we’re going to have to because if you want to fight Anthony Joshua, these guys – they want to be overpaid.
“He is the golden ticket fight, the ‘Willy Wonka’ golden ticket fight that everybody wants and unfortunately for him, it’s going to mean sometimes taking a deal that isn’t right.
“My job is to represent Anthony Joshua and to deliver the deals that are right. We’re not just going to roll over and let them tickle our belly and give everything away, but we ultimately understand that we’re going to have to overpay Joseph Parker to get that unification fight.”
The two sides are examining venues at the moment, with the host of Joshua’s last fight, Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Whales the leader.
Hearn cautions that a deal must be reached before the year is out.
“Our original plan was to go to The O2 in March,” Hearn said. “Against Parker, in a unification fight, that won’t be the case. Millennium Stadium is an option.
“We’re looking with David Higgins and the team at all kinds of different venues. Some quite quirky and funky, other more realistic. But like I said, really by the end of 2017, we must be in a position that fight is done and we’re ready to move forward.”