Anthony Joshua looks set to return to the O2 Arena to fight Joseph Parker in March 2018 according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Confirmation of the bout however is still subject to an agreement on how the purse will be split between the two parties.
Parker’s team initially wanted 40 per cent of the purse but have reportedly dropped their demands to just 35 per cent.
Hearn is reluctant to go as high as that but says that they are ‘closer’ to an agreement and added that the fight, a title unification bout, would likely be held at the O2 Arena, where Joshua last fought in June 2016.
“We are certainly closer than we were. We have spoken a lot with their team and we are within touching distance, so it is just about getting all parties happy and agreed,” Hearn told the Daily Mail.
“I’m confident we will and the aim would be for the end of March.”
Joshua hasn’t headlined the O2 Arena since he defeated Dominic Breazeale last year, however, seven of his twenty professional victories have come in the venue.
Hearn added: “The location could be the O2 and what a great return that would be. Our aim has always been for three fights in 2018 and that means March and the weather means going indoors.
“The O2 has been great to AJ so it’s a strong possibility, if we can get everything else lined up.
“I’m confident we will, so long as they are serious about wanting this fight."
Earlier this week, the undefeated New Zealander and his promoter David Higgins were part of an unusual press conference where they attempted to expose Joshua’s flaws by showing footage of his previous fights and Joshua’s team are concerned that Parker’s camp are using these discussions in order to generate publicity for the 25 year-old.
Hearn went on to say that Parker’s team would be foolish not to try and secure the deal as it would represent, by a significant margin, the biggest purse the Kiwi boxer has ever received.
“Parker’s team have gone public in saying 65-35 and while I won’t say what our position is, I can say we are not far off on a deal that would be worth around five times Parker’s biggest purse,” he added.
“He should take this; if he doesn’t he will face Lucas Browne which will virtually kill the chance of an AJ fight in 2018.”
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