Backlash over Duco efforts to get Govt money for Parker clash

Joseph Parker
Joseph Parker

Joseph Parker's promoters have hit a snag with their attempts to get taxpayer support to stage a world title boxing fight.

The Government says the fund used for such events is itself short of money.

Parker and Sir Bob Jones used to throw around a few friendly punches. But now the gloves are off. Sir Bob thinks Parker's upcoming heavyweight world title fight is a farce.

"Oh crap it 'put us on the map'," says Sir Bob. "Let me tell you, this year there's been numerous world heavyweight title fights. Is Chechnya on the map because they conducted one?"

Sir Bob was once Parker's mentor and manager, now critical of attempts by his current promoter, Duco Events, to get a taxpayer subsidy for the fight.

"The Government should have nothing to do with this whatsoever. It's nonsense. It's a fraud."

Duco wants funding from what's called the "Major Events Fund", but the Government has indicated it would want that paid back if the fight made a profit.

And there is already a public backlash about Sky charging pay-per-view if it gets taxpayer support.

But there's backing from one corner of Parliament.

"Put aside your attitude to boxing," says New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters. "On the past criteria it should definitely qualify."

There's $10 million allocated to the fund a year. But Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce's office says the fund is "already heavily subscribed" for the next two years.

It says the Government could move funds around, meaning any cash for Duco might have to be borrowed from 2018's Budget.

Promoter Dean Lonegan refused to comment today, and so did Steven Joyce. Both sides have gone into shutdown mode today.

Beehive insiders are saying there are concerns about the perception of putting up taxpayer money for a fight Duco would make money off and Sky would charge for.