The first ever world heavyweight title fight to be held in New Zealand has home fighter Joseph Parker pumped to become the next star of the top division.
Parker, 24, faces American Andy Ruiz Jr. for the WBO version at the Vector Arena in Auckland on December 10 after compiling an impressive 21-0 record on his way to becoming the number one contender.
The tough puncher, who stands 6ft 4ins and holds an 86% KO ratio, is honoured to be able to fight for the title in front of his home fans but expects fearsome opposition from Ruiz, who is also unbeaten thus far.
“I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me to fight here at home and to display what I have,” Parker exclusively told World Boxing News.
“It’s an exciting time for everyone associated with New Zealand, to have a world heavyweight title fight staged here.
“I’m expecting the best Andy Ruiz to come here and put up the best challenge he’s ever put up before.”
Asked if he believed Ruiz’s much-publicised and fluctuating weight could play a part in the fight, Parker answered: “I don’t think Andy’s weight is an issue. I think Andy and his team will know what they are doing. They will prepare themselves in whatever shape he’s in to be at his best.
“To lift that title will mean the world to me and claim that championship belt here in New Zealand. I guess I’ll just have to wait until I feel that feeling on December 10,” said Parker.
The winner of the fight was stipulated to face David Haye at some point in 2017, although the Briton recently decided to face Tony Bellew, which may have a bearing on whether the former champion retains his place with the governing body.
Haye’s involvement could become academic anyway as Parker wants to unify the belts should he become New Zealand’s first ever ruler at 200 pound plus and see off Ruiz next weekend.
“Winning this title is the beginning. My goal is to unify the belts and I’ll fight anyone they put in front of me. I’ll fight Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder, give me anyone,” he stated before giving his prediction on Joshua’s fight with Eric Molina on the same night, along with a possible fight for the Brit against Klitschko.
“In boxing, anything can happen and one punch can change everything but I’d say Joshua is on a different level to Eric Molina.
“Joshua v Klitschko is a very interesting fight. It’s the guy who dominated in Klitschko against the young lion coming up in Joshua.
“It’s hard to call, but for me, experience always wins so I guess I’m with Klitschko.”