Thursday, 23 November 2017

Anthony Joshua could be set for O2 Arena return

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is increasingly ‘confident’ of a fight after weeks of discussions over the purse split.
Parker’s team initially demanded 40 per cent of the purse and are now calling for 35 per cent for the WBO champion amid a blaze of publicity stunts.
Hearn is refusing to go so high but said they are ‘closer’ and revealed that the unification bout, if it was to happen, would likely head for London’s O2 Arena, where the WBA and IBF heavyweight champion, Joshua has not fought since June 2016.
Hearn told Sportsmail: "We are certainly closer than we were. We have spoken a lot with their team and we are within touching distance, so it is just about getting all parties happy and agreed. I’m confident we will and the aim would be for the end of March.
"The location could be the O2 and what a great return that would be.
Our aim has always been for three fights in 2018 and that means March and the weather means going indoors.
"The O2 has been great to AJ so it’s a strong possibility, if we can get everything else lined up.
"I’m confident we will, so long as they are serious about wanting this fight."
The concern for Joshua’s team is that Parker’s camp are using the talks to generate exposure and publicity for their fighter.
Earlier this week, the unbeaten New Zealander and his promoter, David Higgins, were part of a bizarre press conference that attempted to show Joshua’s fallibilities via footage of his earlier fights.
Hearn added: ‘Parker’s team have gone public in saying 65-35 and while I won’t say what our position is, I can say we are not far off on a deal that would be worth around five times Parker’s biggest purse.
"He should take this; if he doesn’t he will face Lucas Browne which will virtually kill the chance of an AJ fight in 2018."
Discreet talks remain ongoing with World Boxing Council, WBC champion Deontay Wilder, though that fight would be for later in the year in a stadium.
It will be recalled that the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, Joshua, stopped Carlos Takam in round 10 in Cardiff, to successfully defend his IBF and WBA belts.

Caption: Joshua at the world's the world’s highest boxing ring, helipad's Burj Al Arab, Dubai.

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