Joe Joyce vs Joseph Parker was all-but signed when a public declaration was made in April suggesting the two heavyweights would meet.
July 2 at Wembley Arena was tabbed as the date and venue for the bout which was previewed prior to Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium.
Joyce and Parker came face-to-face on the BT broadcast that night and confirmed they’d agreed to fight, but now will not be doing so.
So what happened?
“You need to ask him that question,” promoter Frank Warren said of Parker on talkSPORT Fight Night.
“As you know, at Tyson’s last fight, him and Joe [Joyce] got together and we announced that it was to be done.
“We agreed terms, I shook hands with Joe [Parker] in front of Tyson and then we got the solicitors to work out the contracts, which took a long while but eventually they got them done.
“And then I heard the day before it was announced that he’d signed a deal with Sky, I heard about that.
“I just sent him a text, ‘Just been told the fight is off, so much for your handshake.’
“And then I got a text back saying, ‘Morning Frank, apologies it took a while to get the deal done, but was offered a better deal last minute.’”
Warren went on to add: “Even if he was offered a better deal, having agreed terms – if somebody said to me, ‘We’ve agreed I’m paying you £100,’ then I’d say, ‘Look, somebody’s offered me £110, do you wanna better it?’
“At least do that. None of it at all.
“He never wanted that fight, he never fancied it and that’s the bottom line.
“But Joe Joyce is the guy who’s mandatory and ranked number one, not Joseph Parker.”
Giving his version of events after confirming his new deal, Parker told talkSPORT Fight Night: “They gave us an offer which we thought was a lot better than what we were getting from the other side.
“So listen, I’m very excited to be signing with BOXXER and Sky.
“We still wanna get the fight with Joyce.
“I know they said because we signed with a different platform we can’t make it happen, but listen, that’s where egos come into play.
“If Frank Warren doesn’t have an ego I’m sure he can let Joe Joyce come onto the Sky platform and fight me.
“So why not? Why not make it happen?”
After being played Warren’s earlier comments, Parker responded: “Yeah, I was offered a better deal.
“But listen, Frank can say whatever he wants to say, the contract kept changing and that’s why it took so long to lock in.
“We were so close to locking it in, but every time it came back there was something always different in it.
“He shook my hand on one deal, and all of a sudden went back and changed the deal.
“So listen, we can go back and forth, say this and say that, but why don’t we just make the fight happen?
“Just because he’s on BT Sport and I’m on Sky doesn’t mean we can’t make the fight happen, it’s all egos I think.”
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