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Joshua says Parker fight MUST take place in UK

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua says his unification bout against WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker MUST take place in the UK. This won’t be a fight in Parker’s home ground in New Zealand, and it will not be taking place in a neutral country to make it fairer.

Joshua is saying the negotiations for the Parker fight is “95 percent” done. The purse split is said to be done for the fight. Parker will receive between a 30 and 35 percent split of the revenue. Parker wanted 40 percent.

Parker’s promoter David Higgins will need to iron out the location of the fight. Having the Joshua-Parker fight take place in the UK will give Joshua a huge advantage over Parker. We already witnessed how the crowd appeared to save Joshua in his fight with Wladimir Klitschko earlier this year on April 29 in London, England. Joshua was on his way to losing the fight in the 10th round of the fight, when the pro-Joshua crowd began to cheer him loudly.

Joshua then responded to the cheering by hurting Wladimir with a big right hand uppercut. This was the turning point in the fight. Joshua then had his way with the 41-year-old Wladimir until scoring the knockout in round 11. Would the Joshua-Klitchko fight have ended differently if it took place in Germany or the U.S? I think it would have. Wladimir made the mistake of agreeing to fight Joshua in front of his own fans, and he found the hard way out he responds to cheering.

Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) will be putting up his IBF/WBA heavyweight titles for the unification match.
”I think we’re 95 per cent of the way there with completing with Joseph Parker,” said Joshua to the BBC’s Sport 5. ”End of March, I would say. It has to be (in this country), the British support, what we’re achieving here is phenomenal.”

It would be interesting to see what would happen if Parker and Higgins rejected the idea of fighting Joshua in the UK. Do Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn stomp off in the other directions, or do they take the mature, adult approach to the negotiations and look to work out a deal that will satisfy both sides? Since it’s seemingly so important for Joshua to fight in the UK, Higgins and Parker might want to use that as a reason to get a bigger cut of the revenue. If Joshua is going to insist the fight take place in the UK, then it might be a good angle for Parker and Higgins to increase the percentage split of the loot to 40 percent. After all, Parker is the one who will be making a major sacrifice by agreeing to fight Joshua in the UK. The location of the Joshua-Parker fight is extremely important, because it could be the difference between winning and losing the match. Parker (24, 18 KOs) fought well in his close contest with Andy Ruiz Jr. a year ago in December. When the fight hung in the balance in rounds 9-12, the crowd cheered Parker on to victory. Had the fight been in a different country, I’m not sure if Parker would have had the motivation in the championship rounds to win.

Joshua is so driven to capture all 5 of the heavyweight titles, he’s willing to do anything to get the fights with Parker and WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder made. Joshua is counting the IBO belt as one of the major heavyweight titles. That’s a belt that a lot of boxing fans don’t consider one of the prestigious straps. However, Wladimir Klitschko held it for many years, and middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin currently holds it.

‘Negotiations are tough, but, in terms of the love of the sport, I won’t let that get in the way from achieving my goal because legacy is important to me and I think we’re achieving something that,” said Joshua. ”To hold all five belts has never been done before, so I won’t let negotiations get in the way of securing my legacy and what I could achieve in the sport.”

It sounds like Joshua is driven to get his hands on the last remaining 2 heavyweight titles. That even more reason for Parker and his promoter Higgins to make sure they get the best deal possible. When you got a fighter that wants a belt as badly as Joshua, you have to drive the hardest deal possible. In that case, 40 percent of the purse sounds awfully nice, doesn’t it? If Higgins and Parker fail to get 40 percent, you have to wonder whether they negotiated tough enough. If I was promoting Parker, I would have walked away from the negotiations a long time ago unless I heard Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn saying the magic words, ‘Okay, Parker can have the 40 percent cut. Just sign already.’ It might not be enough for Parker to get 40 percent of the loot. If he has to fight Joshua in the UK in front of 70,000 screaming pro-Joshua fans, that’s a hardship for any fighter to bear. Putting Parker in a position where he has to fight both Joshua and 70,000 rooting fans, it’s going to be difficult, unless he can get to him before the crowd has AJ properly motivated.

”I always remember when I was watching boxing, it was always about America, America, America and even being a world champion you have to fight around the world, but it’s nice to own the market here,” said Joshua in talking about the importance of him fighting in the UK. ”We own the market and we’re not rushing anywhere, let the British fans stay on home soil for a bit, let other people travel.”

Joshua doesn’t sound like he’s going to be going anywhere anytime soon when it comes to him fighting outside of the UK. Joshua is talking kind of boldly now, as if he’s calling the shots and he wants you to know that. If Parker is willing to give Joshua the bigger slice of the revenue in addition to home country advantage, then those are mighty big gifts to be giving him. The thing is, Parker doesn’t need to give Joshua the home country advantage, and he certainly doesn’t need to accept less than 40 percent. If Parker is willing to walk away from the negotiations, he’ll likely get what he wants for the deal with Joshua sooner or later. As long as Joshua cares about winning all the titles at heavyweight, Parker and Deontay Wilder are both in a good position to get a great deal from him if their promoters are up to the task.

If Joshua loses to Parker, it’s going to be a major letdown for him. Does Joshua give up on his dream of possessing all 5 world titles at heavyweight or does he stubbornly persist in chasing that vision. If Parker knocks Joshua out cold, it would probably be a good idea for him to move on and stay away from the New Zealand heavyweight. Parker is younger than Joshua at 25, and he appears to be getting better. It would be too risky for Joshua to fight Parker a second time if/when he gets knocked out by him. Joshua has a really good thing going in fighting in the UK in front of packed houses in stadiums. If Joshua loses to Parker, I don’t think the boxing fans in the UK will even care. They’ll still likely continue to purchase Joshua’s fights on Sky Box Office PPV and see him live no matter what. Joshua has the 2012 Olympics gold medal going for him, and that seems to validate him in their eyes. For how long, I’m not sure. If Joshua turns into another Audley Harrison at some point, I guess the fans will stop showing up at his fights at some point, but he’s nowhere close to that stage yet.

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