One of the brightest heavyweight prospects Joseph Parker has the opportunity to seize the vacant WBO world title when he squares off against the unbeaten Mexican American Andy Ruiz Jr at the Vector Arena in Auckland on 10th December.
Tyson fury was like a tornado raging through death valley on his maurauding conquest to the Klitschko heartland of Dusseldorf. He shook up the boxing world on that fateful night last November. But much like a superstorm; as quickly as he came he was gone.
In his wake he left the belts free of the man who had monopolised them with an iron grip for such a long, long time. The belts could now be scattered far and wide across the globe.
In this most unforgiving of landscapes one mans demise is another mans opportunity. Many oceans away on the other side of the world a legitimate world prospect has been brewing. New Zealand native Joseph Parker has been knocking out journeyman contenders left right and centre and now finds himself at the doorstep of the world scene.
With 18 of his 21 wins coming via way of KO he’s a prospect who has shown genuine signs of development and has the right style to put on great fights for the fans. In his last fight he knocked out Alexander Dimitrenko but the fight didnt reveal a lot about him. On the surface of it, the result seemed like a controversial KO with Dimitrenko having one knee already touched to the canvas as Parker thudded home a bodyshot to the ribs.
However Dimitrenko’s amateur dramatics were something not seen too often in boxing. He showed no heart or desire to try and beat the count but was instead intent on writhing around on the floor.
Its not something I feel comfortable with; criticising boxers who have just taken a shot off another skilled fighter who can punch is 6ft 4 inches tall and weighs in at over 100kg and its not something you’ ll find me do very often at all. But I feel in this particular instance Dimitrenko was shooting for an easy way out.
Parker has plenty of power and natural physical strength to match hailing from Samoan heritage. If there is any slight drawback about Parker as a fighter right now, it is that he still looks very raw. However, you cannot be too critical of his decision to turn to the professional ranks early in his life as he is on the verge of achieving something special.
At 24 years old he is just a baby by heavyweight standards so it is no wonder that he wasnt in a rush to secure the Joshua fight despite the fact that he had been installed as the mandatory challenger to the Englishman’s IBF world title.
If he can claim the WBO strap he will also have a stronger position at the bargaining table during negotiations so in many ways this is a perfect fight for him to shine in front of his home supporters and annouce himself to the rest of the world.
At the moment he is one rung behind Anthony Joshua on the ladder but if he can raise the WBO belt on 10th December it could well set up a big unification encounter over in the UK.
Andy Ruiz Junior is unbeaten but he has not been exposed at all. He has 29 wins with 19 of those victories coming via way of KO. There’s no doubting he has power and that power will not be unknown to his opponent. It has been documented that Ruiz actually ripped Parkers mouth open in a sparring contest leaving the New Zealander unable to eat anything for three days straight.
Ruiz doesn’t pay good attention to his conditioning at all instead relying on his weight of punch to do the business for him. His hands are deceptively quick for a man of his size and shape but he cannot move his feet so if Parker uses his feet to nip in and out of range he should be able to box his head off.
Parker is the bigger, stronger and fitter man and after coming through a gut check against the tough Calos Takam he will be a better fighter. I think Parker is the better prospect of the two and will be victorious.