Team Fury apologises for late withdrawal while Team Parker vets replacements

Joseph Parker's promoter David Higgins has revealed they're talking to an opponent inside the world's top 15 to replace Hughie Fury for the May 6 bout in Auckland.

It was revealed on Sunday morning (NZT) that the fight had been cancelled due to an issue with the Fury camp.

Higgins told The AM Show that they had been given several options from the World Boxing Organisation (WBO).

"The president of the WBO Francisco Varcarcel called me yesterday out of the blue saying that the Fury's are claiming an injury," Higgins said.

Hughie Fury
Hughie Fury is suffering from a back problem according to his team (Photosport image)

"The WBO has given us permission to take what's called a voluntary defence, meaning, and he specified; it must be an opponent of credibility who's ready to fight in the top 15 of the WBO. So for the May 6 schedule we can line up someone who fits that bill and continue or we can cancel the show and look to the future."

The Fury camp released a statement on Monday apologising for the late withdraw from the fight, blaming an "injury to his lower back" and said the fight had been merely postponed instead of being cancelled altogether.

This is despite Fury writing a column printed in the Daily Mirror on Saturday suggesting he was fit and ready to fire on all cylinders.

While Higgins was adamant they weren't desperately looking for a replacement, he confirmed they had been talking to a suitable opponent that could fight on May 6.

"I wouldn't say desperately looking.

"Every heavyweight wants a shot at that world title belt, Muhammad Ali's [held that belt], Mike Tyson etc, they all want a shot. It's not that difficult but as the WBO said we have to announce someone who's really good otherwise we'll pull the pin.

"I'd say our chances are 50/50 maybe a bit better."

Tony Bellew
Tony Bellew won a TKO against David Haye in February (Getty)

British heavyweight Tony 'the Bomber' Bellew had been named as a potential replacement for Fury following his stunning defeat of veteran David Haye. The possibility of Parker fighting Bellew on May 6 was immediately hosed down by Higgins.

"Absolutely not.

"The Bellew fight would sell out any arena in England and do half a million pay-per-view buys in the UK so it's such a massive fight, you wouldn't hold it here."