Parker to face Ruiz for WBO heavyweight belt in Auckland

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Wellington: New Zealander Joseph Parker will fight Mexican-American Andy Ruiz in Auckland next month for the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) heavyweight title vacated by Tyson Fury, Parker’s promoter said Tuesday.

After weeks of negotiation, Parker’s Duco Events said the fighters will meet at the city’s Vector Arena on December 10.

On the line is the WBO heavyweight belt, one of the two titles Fury vacated last month in order to seek medical treatment after admitting he took cocaine to treat depression.

Parker, 24, who has a 21-0 record with 18 knockouts, is now the WBO’s top-ranked heavyweight.

Ruiz, 27, who is Mexican-born but based in the United States, has a 29-0 record with 19 knockouts.

Duco said it would be the first heavyweight title ever contested in New Zealand.

“This is a huge sporting event which I expect to unite the country,” chief executive Martin Snedden said.

The WBO ranks Ruiz as its number three heavyweight behind former champion Wladimir Klitschko.

But the veteran Ukrainian is currently injured and concentrating on lining-up a big-money bout against Britain’s IBF champion Anthony Joshua early next year.

Duco said that under the terms of the Auckland fight, the winner of Parker-Ruiz would have to fight the British former WBA champion David Haye early next year.

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