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Parker's world title fight confirmed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/10/2016

New Zealand boxer Joseph Parker has been given the green light to fight for a world heavyweight title.

Following weeks of uncertainty, the World Boxing Organisation has sanctioned a fight in New Zealand in December between Parker and Mexican Andy Ruiz for its vacant belt.

A home fight on December 10 between No.1 contender Parker and third-ranked Ruiz has long been endorsed by Parker's management team Duco Events, to contest the belt left vacant by ailing Briton Tyson Fury.

After weeks of uncertainty, they appear to have got their way, with ESPN reporting the fight will be staged in Auckland on that date.

Ruiz's veteran promoter Bob Arum confirmed to ESPN the fight was ordered by WBO bosses at the organisation's convention in Puerto Rico.

Arum had agreed to terms earlier in the week with counterpart Dean Lonergan of Duco Events.

"We have worked a deal out with Parker's people and Andy signed the contract earlier this week, but it was all subject to the sanction," Arum said.

"We got the sanction and it's a done deal."

Duco Events is still to comment on the development.

Taylor Barry, the son of Parker's trainer Kevin Barry, simply tweeted: "It's on."

Parker will become the first Kiwi to fight for a world heavyweight title since David Tua's failed bid against Lennox Lewis 16 years ago.

The WBO has moved away from a reported plan to stage a four-man "box-off" to find its new champion.

Duco Events has said it wouldn't have agreed to such a method, with Parker having first rights to fight for the belt under the WBO's own rules.

Ruiz emerged as the opponent of choice after second-ranked Wladimir Klitschko's reported desire to fight for the vacant WBA belt.

The Mexican, 27, is unbeaten in 29 fights with 19 knockouts.

The taller Parker is three years younger and has also won all of his 21 fights, with 18 by knockout.

Arum says Ruiz will be excited by his opportunity.

"My (matchmakers) think Andy has a hell of a shot," he said.

"I've seen some of Parker's fights on YouTube clips. He's a tremendous puncher but he doesn't look to me to be particularly fast and Andy is a very fast heavyweight."

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