20 Sep 2017

Higgins tantrum pays off

6:46 am on 20 September 2017

Joseph Parker's team has scored a win of sorts five days out from the defence of their WBO world heavyweight title against Hughie Fury, with a change in the referee.

Ever since Briton Terry O'Connor was appointed, Parker's promoter David Higgins had fought the decision and resulted in him being removed from a media conference yesterday after a verbal stoush with Fury's camp.

Ducco promoter David Higgins

Ducco promoter David Higgins Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The compromise is that O'Connor will now become one of the judges, while Marcus McDonnell, another Englishman, will move from judge to referee.

"The British Boxing Board of Control has offered that compromise which we will accept," said Higgins.

The change is not completely to Higgins liking as he wanted a non-English referee for the bout from the outset.

"The officials are going to be up for a lot of scrutiny anyway because of all the fuss," he said.

"I'm sure they're going to want to be seen to be doing a good job, I think it would be very risky for any official to not be fair.

Yesterday Parker's trainer Kevin Barry said he wasn't concerned about who was controlling the bout but he has welcomed change.

"I think Dave has done a really good job getting the referee changed...they were standing pretty steady over the past week to ten days saying that these are going to be the officials, this is the referee 'lump it' - well we've got a change so good work by our team."

Joseph Parker (left) has distanced himself from the outburst by his promoter David Higgins.

Joseph Parker and Hughie Fury. Photo: Photosport