Duco Events rule out having Joseph Parker on Manny Pacquiao's fight card in Australia

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker continues to look for a suitable opponent for the first defence of his WBO title.

Joseph Parker's handlers will resist the temptation to have him involved in the Manny Pacquiao extravaganza in Australia in April.

Duco Events have been given the green light by Pacquiao's boss Bob Arum to nail down the finances for a late April fight for the WBO welterweight title against rising Australian Jeff Horn.

Duco promote Horn and Parker, the stars in their trans-Tasman stable.

Parker is looking to April for the first defence of his WBO heavyweight title.

But Duco co-owner David Higgins made it clear Horn and Parker wouldn't feature on the same card as they look to tie down Brisbane as the venue for the Pacquiao fight though Adelaide and Melbourne are other options. It's being billed as the biggest boxing event to be staged in Australia.

Duco face a massive job to get the funds to turn Horn v Pacquiao into a reality and Higgins said "costs would soar" having Parker's world title defence on the same show.

Dividing up the pay-per-view royalties didn't make sense.

Parker has never fought in Australia during his professional career of 22-0.

"Jeff and Joe are standalone stars now in terms of headlining their own cards," Higgins said.

"We see them as two separate identities."

Horn has featured on several undercards of Parker fights in the past, including the Kiwi's WBO heavyweight title night against Andy Ruiz in Auckland when the Horn did enough to convince Arum he was worthy of getting in the ring with Pacquaiao.

Duco continue to work on Parker's next fight. Britain's Hughie Fury and WBC champion Deontay Wilder are the strong alternatives.

Higgins said they would weigh up the best route to take in terms of gains from the US or UK.

Fury appears the likely option though Wilder's willingness to put his belt on the line for a unification fight has growing appeal, even if it is a hugely risky first defence for Parker.

Parker's WBO title win over Andy Ruiz last month has earned him a spot among the four finalists for New Zealand sportsman of the year at the Halberg Awards.

Photo: Photosport