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Parker vs. Fury fight venue to be decided soon

Joseph Parker

By Jeff Aranow: WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker’s management is expected to make a decision on the venue soon for his first defense of his title against Hughie Fury on April 1. The location of the fight is down to either New Zealand or Singapore. Parker was born in New Zealand, and that would be a great choice for the Hughie (20-0, 10 KOs) fight, but they’ve reportedly had an inquiry from Singapore to stage the fight at a casino in that country.

The fight will wind up wherever it’s more lucrative for Parker to make his first defense of his title. Having the fight in New Zealand would seem like the more sensible thing for the 25-year-old Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) to do, because he’ll have the firm backing of his boxing fans.

We saw recently how important Parker’s fans are when he squeaked by Andy Ruiz Jr. on December 10 in their fight at the Vector Arena in New Zealand. Parker barely won the fight in beating Ruiz Jr. by a 12 round majority decision. Many of the boxing fans that saw the fight had Ruiz Jr. winning or at least fighting well enough to deserve a draw. But with the fight at home, Parker was able to get the decision.

It’s debatable whether Parker would enjoy the fan support if he fights in Singapore. If he doesn’t need the fans to help get him over the hump to deat Hughie, then perhaps it woud be wise for him to have the fight take place in Singapore if it brings him the most money. But if there’s some worry about whether Parker has enough of a talent advantage to beat Hughie, then he needs to fight in New Zealand by all means.

Not only did Parker have a close call in his fight against Ruiz Jr. last December, but he also struggled to beat Carlos Takam by a 12 round unanimous decision on May 21 last year in New Zealand. You can argue that the pro-Parker crowd helped him win a close fight that could have easily gone the other way.

“We’ve had an enquiry out of Singapore about taking it to a casino,” Duco director David Higgins said to “In Manchester, Fury’s hometown, the fans buy tickets big. We would like to hold it [in New Zealand]. So our job over the coming two week is to see if we can make it work. The fight won’t necessarily be in New Zealand. When you prepare a purse bid, you have to put a proposed date and location. But now our job is see if we can make it stack up here.”

You can only hope that Parker and his promoters don’t live to regret not staging the fight in New Zealand if they decide to have the fight staged in Singapore, and if he loses to Hughie. It’s no forgone conclusion that Parker is going to beat Hughie. Parker may have the better punching power of the two, but Hughie might have the better boxing skills.

The 6’6” Hughie definitely has size to win the fight, and he’s going to have a great game plan. Tyson Fury and his father/trainer Peter Fury are going to dissect Parker’s past fights and they’ll know exactly what to do in order to beat him. Whether Hughie has the talent to follow out the game plan to the letter to win the fight is the big question.

That’s the big question. Hughie isn’t the easiest guy to hit, but he has stamina problems that he’s shown in some of his past fights. If Parker is able to get Hughie into the later rounds, then he could wind up taking the second half of the fight the way he did against Ruiz Jr. Hughie is going to be well-trained for the fight, and ready to move for 12 rounds if he needs to. Having the fight in New Zealand could be a great precautionary measure for Parker to make sure that he gets the victory.

Parker is still a work in progress despite him being a world champion. He just as easily could have been beaten in his last fight against Ruiz Jr. if the fight had taken place in a different venue.

“Winning the purse bid you hold all the cards, losing the purse bid you lose all the cards, so the stakes were very high,” said Higgins.

The 22-year-old Hughie hasn’t fought since April of last year. He beat Fred Kassi by a 7th round technical decision. The fight was stopped due to Hughie suffering a cut. It was good that the fight was stopped when it did, because Hughie was very tired at the time, and had very little left in the tank to continue fighting.

Hughie hasn’t fought since then. By the time that he does eventually face Parker on April 1, Hughie will have been out of the ring for an entire year. That’s not good news for a fighter as young as Hughie. He should be fighting at least three times per year at age 22. Seeing a fighter miss out on fights during his formative years as a pro is negative. If Hughie is smart, he will have been working out daily for the past year to make sure he doesn’t get out of shape and to keep sharp.

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