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All pressure on 'favourite' Ruiz: Barry

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/11/2016
A file picture of trainer Kevin Barry talking to Joseph Parker © Getty A file picture of trainer Kevin Barry talking to Joseph Parker

Andy Ruiz is under enormous pressure to beat Joseph Parker in their world heavyweight title fight says Parker's trainer Kevin Barry.

Parker's camp has begun the mind games ahead of the world heavyweight title fight against Ruiz, labelling the Mexican a clear favourite.

The two unbeaten fighters will contend for the vacant WBO belt in Auckland on December 10.

Home-town fighter and No.1 division contender Parker has been wrongly acclaimed as the man to beat, according to Barry.

He says Ruiz's record of 29 wins, including 19 by knockout, across an eight-year career is more impressive than Parker's 21-0 in four years.

Also, Ruiz fought 105 times as an amateur, losing just five times. Parker had a shorter, less accomplished amateur career.

"Andy comes here as the favourite to win this fight, there is no doubt in my mind about that," Barry said.

"We all know that Joseph Parker punches fast. Well, I believe that Andy Ruiz punches faster than Joe."

Neither fighter has ever been knocked down and Barry believes the fight will go the full 12 rounds.

He believes it will nevertheless be a spectacular affair between two fighters in their 20s renowned for throwing punches, compared to some of the "dismal" high-profile heavyweight fights in 2016.

Barry says the key will be the shorter but aggressive Ruiz's ability to handle the expectation placed on him.

The California-based fighter is trying to become the first heavyweight champion from Mexico, a country with a proud record in other divisions.

"The pressure for this fight is on Andy Ruiz. As far as I'm concerned, he's expected to win."

Barry says the Ruiz camp will have been heartened by Parker's off-key display in beating tough Frenchman Carlos Takam in May - widely regarded as the Kiwi's toughest fight to date.

A repeat will be catastrophic against Ruiz, says Barry, who expects the Mexican to move forward and apply pressure from the opening bell.

Barry says Parker is not yet the finished product but has come a long way since linking up with him soon after turning professional in 2013.

He says Parker, not long turned 21 at that stage, had raw talent but lacked stamina and power.

"This is the end of a four-year apprenticeship. Joe has progressed, he's got bigger, and his skills have improved.

"We will need a fight where all the skills he has learned are on display. Because if they are not, we will not win this fight."

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