Anthony Joshua's unification fight with Joseph Parker is yet to be finalised, says Eddie Hearn
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 29/12/17 6:08am
Anthony Joshua's unification fight with Joseph Parker is yet to be finalised, but promoter Eddie Hearn remains "very hopeful" that a deal will be agreed.
Negotiations are still ongoing for Joshua to put his WBA 'super' and IBF heavyweight titles on the line against WBO champion Parker, with the New Zealander's promoter David Higgins expected to arrive in London next week to thrash out the remaining details on the contract.
Higgins has suggested that Joshua agreed for Parker to receive a split "between 30 and 35 per cent", but Hearn says there are still terms to be confirmed for the fight, which could be staged in March or April.
There is no fight until the contract is signed. Either way, AJ's next fight will be announced in early 2018.
"We are working hard to try and finalise the deal and are very hopeful," Hearn told Sky Sports. "There is no fight until the contract is signed.
"Either way, AJ's next fight will be announced in early 2018."
Joshua and Parker had been locked in talks for weeks, but Higgins says both camps softened their stances slightly to push ahead talks for the fight, with venues in Cardiff, London and Manchester being considered.
"In my view that fight has got a whole lot more realistic and it's as close as it's ever been between Joshua and Parker," Higgins told Sky Sports.
"The breakthrough being there has been a small compromise on both sides and we finally agreed the purse split ratio. That I believe is the most important hurdle to agreeing a fight of this magnitude. Both camps are now happy with the ratio they are receiving.
We're very close and there's a high chance I'll board a flight to London at the end of next week to try and finalise a deal.
"We've met somewhere between 30 and 35 per cent, but I haven't said it publicly. Eddie Hearn has sent me a contract based on the [Wladimir] Klitschko contract, and I'm going through it with my lawyer making changes, today, tomorrow, and I'll be getting it back to him.
"We're very close and there's a high chance I'll board a flight to London at the end of next week to try and finalise a deal."
Both heavyweights are putting unbeaten records on the line, along with their world titles, and Higgins is confident that his fighter will emerge with all three belts.
"Eddie Hearn is making a grave mistake feeding AJ to Joseph Parker," he said.
"If AJ is the Golden Goose, I would liken it to Hearn sacrificing his glass goose."