Bookmakers backing Joseph Parker to defend WBO title against Hughie Fury
Joseph Parker has started as a warm favourite with bookmakers in New Zealand and Britain for his WBO world heavyweight title defence against Hughie Fury.
With the May 6 fight in Auckland finally confirmed, the bookies have drawn an early line in the sand and it reflects the challenge in front of the big Brit fighting in New Zealand.
The Kiwi TAB has Parker at $1.45 in head-to-head betting, with Fury at $2.60.
British bookmakers William Hill are a little more generous for the punters, placing Parker at $1.62 for victory and Fury at $2.60.
Neither market has placed odds on the method of victory as yet.
The 25-year-old Parker is unbeaten over 22 fights with 18 KOs and has used home advantage to eek out tight decisions against Carlos Takam to and Andy Ruiz to claim his place in the top tier of the division.
Despite giving away height and reach for this fight, Parker comes with a far superior record to Fury against quality opponents.
But Fury believes he can defy the odds, being in a predictably bullish mood when he fronted UK media after the fight details were revealed on Wednesday.
"These are the fights I want, these are the fights I have always wanted," Fury told Sky Sports in the UK. "These step-up fights, this is the mix I want to be in.
"I have had my downs and now I am on my way upwards. I have had illnesses in the past but that is all behind me and I just can't wait to move forward.
"I am confident whoever I am against. I believe I am the best out there and I am going to prove it."
Fury, 20-0 with 10 KOs, hasn't fought for almost a year as he took time away to sort out his poor skin condition, believing previous medication had affected his strength and conditioning.
Meanwhile Fury's father and trainer Peter told the Mirror he had yet to formally apply for his immigration exemption to enter New Zealand, a requirement because of serious dugs convictions in his past.
"Hopefully we'll get the visa sorted and be over there. The application still hasn't gone in yet because there is a lot of paperwork to gather," he said.
He has lawyers in both New Zealand and Britain working on his case.
The Fury camp plans to be in New Zealand for as much as four weeks before the fight to acclimatise.
Peter Fury believes they will be well prepared to cause an upset.
"We've known about it for a few weeks now, but this is the first time it's been officially released. Training is going well and everything is on target," he said.