Hughie Fury is so worried about squaring off against Joseph Parker in New Zealand that his backers are making desperate, last-ditch attempts to pull together millions in order to try move the WBO heavyweight title fight to the UK.
Peter Fury, Hughie’s father and trainer, was on holiday with his family and would not comment when contacted on Saturday night. But a source associated with the Fury camp confirmed all avenues were being explored to avoid coming to Auckland for the May 6 showdown.
The upshot is the travellers do not want to travel.
Auckland’s Vector Arena is booked, tickets are on sale, and it is understood the Furys have assured Parker’s promoters Duco Events that if they can’t source the money they will begrudgingly come to Auckland 16 days before the fight. Discussions are ongoing.
With Parker set to bank $2.5 million and Fury $1.7 million, it would take a significant amount of money – possibly up to $5 million – to move the fight to Fury’s home in Manchester.
Sourcing that sort of dosh less than one month out from the title fight appears extremely unlikely. But the fact the Furys are even investigating the possibility shows just how worried they are about coming to take on Parker in his backyard; at the same venue he claimed the WBO belt with a majority decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jnr.
As mandatory challenger, the 20-0 Fury holds negotiating power Parker’s former challengers did not.
The Fury camp have, therefore, been able to make the process of pulling together the fight in New Zealand as difficult as possible.
Parker’s camp won a purse bid of $4.1 million – $200,000 more than the Furys bid – in Puerto Rico in February and thus hold all the rights to decide where the bout will be held.
Fury, who hasn’t fought in over a year and may be trying to buy himself more time, originally planned to be in New Zealand already but his camp are understood to be suspicious of New Zealand sparring partners leaking tactics to the Parker camp.
The 22-year-old will now run a closed shop when he finally arrives – but only after doing everything possible not to make the journey.