An issue with an official has been resolved ahead of New Zealand boxer Joseph Parker’s heavyweight clash with Englishman Dillian Whyte in London this weekend.
A Canadian official had been put forward by the WBC sanctioning body to be one of the three judges for Sunday’s bout, where Whyte’s WBC silver belt and the vacant WBO international belt will be on the line.
Keen to avoid the controversy that surrounded the Italian referee who controlled their fighter’s loss to Anthony Joshua in their world title unification bout in April, Parker’s camp kept a close on the appointment of officials.
And after learning about the Canadian official’s potential involvement, they quickly expressed their concerns about his credentials and lack of activity in recent years.
Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry confirmed they had been able to successfully work through the issue.
“The Canadian official is no longer on the card,” Barry told RNZ.
“The third judge is from France. [Parker’s promoter] David Higgins has done a good job there.
“We’ve come to a nice compromise with the British Board of Boxing Control.”
Much attention has also surrounded the referee for Parker’s encounter with Whyte, where the winner will move to the forefront of conversations for a shot at one or more of the world title belts.
Parker’s camp, namely promoter Higgins and trainer Barry, were not best pleased by the performance of Italian referee Giuseppe Quartarone in the defeat to Joshua in Cardiff and demanded a better quality referee for this match.
As well as the way Quartarone controlled the bout, rarely allowing the two fighters to exchange at close quarters, they were left disappointed by his poor command of English and bemused by his request for a pre-fight photo with Parker in the changing rooms.
British referee Ian John Lewis has been selected by the British Board of Boxing Control to take charge of Sunday’s fight and Barry said it was a quality appointment.
“[Lewis] is one of the most experienced referees in the world.
“He’s a very highly qualified guy who I think is the best British referee, so I’m happy with that.
“Look, anything is going to be better than what we had in Cardiff.”
Parker also confirmed he was happy with the officials who would be in place for his high stakes match-up with Whyte
Speaking to Morning Report, the former WBO world champion said he was confident in the job the referee and judges would do.
“Yea, I’m happy. I’m happy that my team has taken care of that side of things.
“I’ve left it to them, it is in their hands to take care of and I feel like we have neutral judges and a neutral referee.
“If anything happens, at least we all agreed to it. I think we’re all on the same page at the moment so there is no worries for me.
“My job is just to focus on being sharp and fit and ready for fight night.”
Meanwhile, Barry has revealed just how real a re-match with Joshua was if Parker can produce what he is hoping to.
British superstar Joshua holds three of the four major heavyweight world title belts and has been trying for months to negotiate a bout for the unified championship against the man who holds the fourth title, American fighter Deontay Wilder.
An offer from Joshua to Wilder for a fight at London’s Wembley Stadium in April next year remains on the table, but Barry said Parker would likely make himself the next best option if Wilder doesn’t put pen to paper.
“[Joshua’s promoter] Eddie Hearn has already said to us, if Joe can knock Dillian Whyte out and look sensational and they don’t make the Deontay Wilder fight for April, there is a good chance that Joe will get the re-match.
“There is an enormous amount to gain [this weekend] for both guys.”