By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker’s promoter is lobbying for better officials than he feels have worked each of Parker’s last two fights in the United Kingdom.
David Higgins has made the British Boxing Board of Control well aware that he is displeased with the officials for Parker’s majority-decision win against England’s Hughie Fury and the former WBO heavyweight champion’s unanimous-decision loss to Anthony Joshua.
The BBBC has not yet assigned judges and a referee for Parker’s fight against London’s Dillian Whyte on July 28 at O2 Arena in London.
His battle with Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) will mark a third straight fight in the United Kingdom for New Zealand’s Parker (24-1, 18 KOs).
“We New Zealanders are very fair-minded people,” Higgins told Sky Sports for a story posted to the network’s website Monday. “We believe in a level playing field. It’s in our culture. We expect the same wherever we go. The British Boxing Board of Control is probably one of the most respected boxing commissions in the world.
“Twice we have come to the UK and twice the officiating has involved a level of disgrace. There is probably a handful of referees in the world, maybe half a dozen, four or six that are considered the best in the world. Everyone knows who they are, so why for a heavyweight unification [did] they choose an obscure Italian, who has mostly officiated lighter weights? It was appalling. He didn’t let the boxers engage and fight properly.”
Higgins referred to referee Giuseppe Quartarone, who drew criticism for his heavy-handed approach to officiating the Joshua-Parker fight. All three judges – England’s Steve Gray (118-110), New Zealand’s Ian Scott (119-109) and the United States’ Steve Weisfeld (118-110) – scored Joshua a winner over Parker by big margins March 31 in Cardiff, Wales.
In Parker’s previous fight, two judges – the United States’ John Madfis (118-110) and England’s Terry O’Connor (118-110) – credited Parker with a wider win over Fury than some fans, media and Fury felt Parker deserved. The third judge, the United States’ Rocky Young, scored the Parker-Fury fight even, 114-114, on September 23 in Manchester, England.
An infuriated Fury filed a protest with the WBO regarding the scoring of his loss to Parker, which was denied.
Higgins still feels the BBBC must assign better officials for the Parker-Whyte fight.
“They are on notice,” Higgins said. “We would like to see the British Boxing Board of Control and the officials selected to be competent, experienced, well-known professionals. Ideally neutral, with a good track record. We hope that’s not too much to ask.”
Robert Smith, the general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, addressed Higgins’ concerns.
“The British Boxing Board of Control will make the appropriate appointments in due course for a very important fight for both boxers,” Smith told Sky Sports, “and the officials appointed will be world class.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.