You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Parker new heavyweight world champion

NZN 10/12/2016 Angelo Risso

Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker is the new heavyweight champion of the world after edging Andy Ruiz Jr by majority decision in Auckland.

The fight for the WBO belt went down to the most slender of margins on Saturday night, with Parker earning a 115-113 victory from two judges and a 114-114 draw from the third.

Parker, 24, started the fight slowly but grew into the contest, dominating the closing rounds as his stocky opponent began to tire.

And his superior fitness and punching power told in the end, making him the first Kiwi to be crowned heavyweight world champion.

He's likely to seek a unification fight overseas in 2017 or a bout with former champion Tyson Fury when he's recovered from substance abuse.

Both fighters promised an open, offensive battle and didn't disappoint, showing plenty of willingness to throw combinations early on.

But as the fight traversed through its opening rounds, Parker found it difficult to break the Mexican-American's defensive rear-guard with jabs.

Ruiz, meanwhile, managed to land several solid blows to Parker's head, including a second-round string of connections in the corner, and frequent left hooks to the body.

The fifth round proved more fortuitous for Parker, hitting Ruiz with a left-hand blow to the face and setting himself up for a dominant sixth-round performance.

But with half the fight gone, it remained difficult to pick the man with the upper hand.

Both boxers landed flurries of punches in the seventh before another positive ninth-round Parker performance - who landed several jabs to the face - set the fight up for a grand finale.

And as Ruiz began to tire, Parker found new ways of getting under his defence via uppercuts and several right-hand blows to the face.

The final two rounds came and went without Parker landing a knock-out blow, condemning the pair to the mercy of the judges, who chose the Aucklander.

"What a dream come true," Parker said immediately after the fight.

In the undercard fights, Parker's brother John defeated compatriot Ash McConville by unanimous verdict in just his second professional fight.

Powerful Kiwi Junior Fa thumped Pablo Magrini with a third-round TKO, felling the diminutive Argentinian with a series of left-hand body blows.

Australian Shannon O'Connell overcame Argentinian Laura Griffa by unanimous verdict to collect the WBO women's Asia-Pacific super bantamweight title.

Ghanaian Isaac Dogboe then claimed the vacant WBO international super bantamweight title with a seventh-round TKO of Argentinian Julian Aristule.

In the final undercard fight, Australian welterweight Jeff Horn made relatively easy work of South African Ali Funeka, knocking him out with a sixth-round blow.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon