Joseph Parker's promoter casts major doubts over Hughie Fury's back injury
Joseph Parker's promoter believes there's "a one in a billion chance" that Hughie Fury has injured his back.
The Fury camp have cited a back injury to their fighter for the reason for pulling out of the WBO world title fight with Joseph Parker in Auckland on May 6.
Duco Events boss David Higgins is less than convinced.
"There is a possibility that Hughie Fury is actually injured ... I'd say about a one in a billion chance. But we can't rule that out," sniped Higgins, reflecting the sour relations between the two camps that have now hit rock bottom with this latest development.
The Furys have never appeared keen to come to New Zealand since Higgins pipped Fury's promoter Frank Warren in the purse bid for the rights to the fight.
Higgins and his team have spent a frantic Sunday night and Monday trying to save the Auckland promotion and hope to make an announcement by Tuesday or Wednesday.
"It's been crisis mode but, hey, that's the business we're in," Higgins said with the multi-million dollar promotion hanging by a thread.
They have been given permission by the WBO to take a voluntary defence against another fighter ranked in the organisation's top 15. Getting a suitable opponent at such short notice is the challenge.
Higgins said there were "a handful of options" available and he had his matchmaker Stuart Duncan working through them.
"We have two choices - we either cancel the event or we find someone that fits the bill. He must be a credible opponent, fight-ready, fit and in the top 15," Higgins said.
"Ideally if we can find someone like that we continue. If we don't, I think it is unlikely that Joseph will fight in New Zealand in the near future."
In offering their reasons and apology on Monday, Team Fury said Hughie had "suffered an injury to his lower back which has been a serious issue for the last three weeks that has left him unable to train to his full capacity. Despite receiving intense physiotherapy treatment and his desire to fight for the WBO world title, after seeing his physiotherapist last Friday he has been advised to rest for 3-4 weeks before resuming training".
Just last Saturday Fury spoke of his superb training camp and readiness to get on a plane to New Zealand for the biggest fight of his life.
The Fury statement also said "the fight will be rescheduled and a new date will be announced shortly".
But the prospect of a rescheduled fight with the Fury doesn't sit comfortably with Higgins.
"We have not had any conclusive discussions with Team Fury about that. Someone in the camp reached out ... obviously the trust level of our side is pretty low," Higgins said, indicating massive money might be the only bridge available.
"If they did want a serious look at making the fight happen, they basically need to pay a big, big sum of money up front. Then the trust issues disappear."
Higgins said the WBO needed to clarify the position around any rescheduling.
"They haven't given a me an official position on whether we then have to go on and fight Hughie or not (after a voluntary defence)."