Boxing: Glove dispute threatens to derail Joseph Parker v Junior Fa bout

A major dispute over a surprising issue threatens to scupper plans for a Kiwi heavyweight showdown between the two best fighters in the country. 

In recent weeks, representatives of both Joseph Parker and Junior Fa have acknowledged a fight agreement is close.

But with negotiations at an advanced stage, Newshub has learned both sides are refusing to budge over what type of gloves are to be used in the ring.

"It's a deal breaker," Parker's promoter, David Higgins, tells Newshub.

Parker's team want to use a preferred glove - a brand he's always worn. 

Fa's camp want both fighters to wear the same gloves and have suggested an alternative.

"Gloves are one of those battlegrounds of fairness," says Fa's manager, Mark Keddell.  

"We think it's pretty fair. I think the rest of the NZ public would think it's pretty fair, wouldn't they?"

Allowing fighters to choose their gloves, and have them approved by the opponent and officials is standard practice in the boxing world, according to Higgins, who opted for a cricketing analogy to describe the Fa camp's proposal.

"It'd be like the World Cup final handing out everyone a Kiwi cricket bat and saying 'Here you go, boys, we're all using the same plastic bat'," Higgins says.

"If you want to have a Twenty20 match - Fa v Parker - happy days," Keddell responds. "Use a different bat… but we're talking about a boxing fight, aren't we?" 

In a twist of irony, the demand for fighters to use the same gloves appears to be driven by Fa's coach, Eugene Bareman - best known for his success in the UFC, where gloves and wraps are provided and the same for all fighters. 

"Everything's really even [in the UFC]," Keddell adds. "It pits two men against each other and that's what we want."

But Higgins isn't so sure.

"That's maybe how UFC works, but it's not how boxing works," says Higgins. "We're not going to change the norms and the conventions and the history of boxing to please the Junior Fa camp."

A scrap over gloves could end hopes for the bout Kiwi fight fans want to see.

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