Joshua Parker and Andy Ruiz Jr. are in talks to have a fight in the next few months, putting another big heavyweight bout in the spotlight.
The two sides have been talking and one of the main focal points of the negotiations is whether or not the now-vacant WBO Heavyweight Championship will be on the line. The WBO title, along with various other heavyweight world titles, was recently vacated by Tyson Fury, who is dealing with a variety of personal and medical issues.
Parker and Ruiz are ranked No.1 and No. 3, respectively in the WBO’s rankings. Klitschko, who is ranked No. 2, is in talks with Anthony Joshua for a potential clash in December for Joshua’s IBF title. Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum told ESPN that both sides are trying to make the fight a WBO title fight.
“We’re talking to the WBO about making it for the vacant title,” Arum said. “If they go along we told them Andy would be happy to fight Joe in New Zealand. I’ve never been to New Zealand so I’m looking forward to it.”
Details, such as the date and location of the bout, have not been finalized, although the likely scenario is a January fight in New Zealand. Other dates like December would be difficult because Abel Sanchez, Ruiz's trainer, will be busy training Gennady Golovkin for a potential fight with Daniel Jacobs that has yet to be made official, but negotiations had been progressing.
“Doing it in December is too close to the Golovkin fight so I would rather do it in January and have Abel be able to spend more time with Andy,” Arum said. “I think Andy being trained by Abel is terrific. I have great respect for Abel as a trainer and I think he can bring out the best in Andy. Andy hasn’t always been the most disciplined fighter but Abel I think can bring that out in him more than anyone else. It think Andy has the quickest hands in the heavyweight division and Abel will be able to exploit that talent in a fight.”
Both fighters are undefeated as professionals. It is not a guarantee that the fight will be contested for the WBO title. WBO president Francisco Valcarcel told ESPN recently that he prefers for there to be a four-man tournament to decide the new champion and that the tournament would be held among its top four contenders: Parker, Klitschko, Ruiz and David Haye.