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Parker-Ruiz bout may be fought in USA

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/10/2016

New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker is set to fight for a world heavyweight title in the United States rather than Auckland because of financial constraints.

Parker's promoters Duco Events says there is only a 20 per cent chance the fight for the vacant WBO belt on December 10 against Mexican Andy Ruiz will be in Auckland, as first touted.

The company is seeking additional sponsorship to cope with the hefty cost of staging the first significant world title fight in New Zealand.

Duco Events co-owner Dean Lonergan says while Parker's traditional backers are all on board, considerable extra funding is needed.

"It's a 70-80 per cent chance it will go offshore. We don't want it to," Lonergan told TVNZ Breakfast.

"We have to be fiscally responsible. We can't lose a huge amount of money just because we want to do it here."

The combined total of the commercial deals needs to be well into seven figures, said Lonergan, who began sounding out potential backers three weeks before the fight's announcement.

Lonergan says he will continue to pursue sponsorship until the middle of next week and if unsuccessful, the fight will be in the US.

He confirmed Duco Events are in talks with the Government-run New Zealand Major Events Development Fund, which invests in events of "global significance".

Lonergan says the fight could promote New Zealand's image in a positive light, with a television distributor lined up to take the fight to up to 100 countries.

Parker's team has first choice of venue as he is the No.1 contender.

However, Lonergan says Duco Events will lose control of the fight date if it is moved to the US.

Dallas and Las Vegas have already been suggested as venues for the clash of two unbeaten fighters for the belt which was vacated this month by Briton Tyson Fury for health reasons.

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