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…Set for Wilder challenge too

Joseph Parker has placed his first offer on the table to fight Anthony Joshua, his promoter has claimed.

Negotiations began on Thursday for IBF and WBA ‘super’ heavyweight champion Joshua to meet WBC equivalent Deontay Wilder, but WBO title-holder Parker is still in the mix.

Parker’s promoter David Higgins responded to Joshua’s tweet on Thursday, telling Sky Sports: “Joshua is accurate – so I will make an offer. I will underwrite and promote the fight anywhere in the world to give Joshua 60 per cent profit.

“The starting point is 50-50. But as a mark of respect, we would accept a bit less. But we will not accept an insult. Why should we?”

Parker claimed that talks were already underway earlier this week with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, which Higgins reiterated.

“We’re in talks, 100 per cent,” Higgins said. “Joseph wants the fight but the deal has to be fair and reasonable. If they treat it like a regular voluntary, that devalues it.

“We’re not selling our belt. We are going to take Joshua’s belts, and we will be paid for our time.

“A proper undisputed world champion has not been done since Lennox Lewis, and if Joshua fought Parker it would a step [in that direction]. So it’s not a regular voluntary [defence for Joshua].”

WBC champion Wilder appears to be in pole position to secure the first world heavyweight title unification fight of 2018 against Joshua, but that outcome wouldn’t faze Parker.

“We don’t care. If Joshua fights Wilder, someone will win and take three belts. Then we will get our shot and it’s even bigger,” Higgins said.

“We’ll take the fight but we’re not desperate. If Joshua fights Wilder, we’ll fight the winner.

“They will choose between Wilder and Parker. We’re here, we’re ready.”

Parker has “an agreement in principle” to fight Lucas Browne next, but would be content to travel to the UK if a deal can be struck with Joshua.

Meanwhile as Joshua pushes to fight Deontay Wilder next but negotiations must avoid “fantasy”, insists promoter Eddie Hearn. Talks to agree a world heavyweight title unification fight began on Thursday and, with Joseph Parker an alternative option for Joshua, Wilder has been warned not to scupper his chance.

“We have to find middle ground between reality and fantasy. If we can find the right deal, there is no reason why that fight can’t happen next,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “Honestly, through experience, that’s the hard part.

“It doesn’t happen overnight, this is the first meeting (on Thursday) – it may go well, it may go terribly, it may go OK. Fans need to know we are being proactive.

“We want the fight. The Wilder fight will happen in 2018 unquestionably. It’s just a case of whether it’s next, in the summer and, importantly, where it (takes place).”

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