IN an extraordinary scene (even by boxing’s standards), Joseph Parker’s promoter disrupted the WBO heavyweight world champion’s press conference today with challenger Hughie Fury. Seemingly intoxicated, David Higgins launched into a rant about the appointment of a British referee, Terry O’Connor, for Saturday’s world title fight in Manchester. Security had to haul the promoter away and take him out of the room.

Accompanying Higgins was former heavyweight Frans Botha who also tried to interrupt the press conference and was also removed by security.

It infuriated Peter Fury, Hughie’s father and trainer. “You’re rattled,” he shouted. “Who gives a f*** about you or your bodyguard. F*** off. Squealing like a pig.”

Later Fury said, “I do apologise for swearing. It’s not nice when your promoter, Mick Hennessy is saying to you Higgins is threatening to pull out of the fight, [Higgins saying] ‘you’ve breached’ and he wants to run away to New Zealand with the money. We hear all this rubbish talk out of his mouth.

“Joseph Parker can choose his gloves, have the ring checked and approved by both people, the dressing room, everything spot on. That’s what I can do. The best of fair play. I want my son to win a world title with no hidden agendas. Now Higgins is basically saying because of the referee it’s not fair. The Boxing Board of Control, one of the most respected officiating groups in world boxing – is he saying I’ve got them in my pocket, they’re bent. I’ve got no interest in a referee or a judge or anything else. I’m here to see my son win a world title and that’s what we’ve been training for. Furthermore, as I understand it from Mick this morning, we’ve wrote to the Boxing Board of Control, and they’re looking to oblige and change things around. So all this stupid, silly gossip. Talking to other promoters, I’m not interested in all of that crap.

Joseph Parker-Hughie Fury

“We’re here, the fight’s happening, they’re paid. There are no breaches and if thinks he can run off to Timbuktu with the money, good luck to him. He can’t.”

Mick Hennessy, Fury’s promoter, added, “It’s down to the governing bodies. We’ve got no sway over that.”