New Zealand is now home to a boxing world champion.
Joseph Parker defeated Andy Ruiz Jr. to win the vacant WBO heavyweight title. Parker won a very close fight via majority decision with one judge scoring te fight even at 114-114 and the other two judges scoring the fight 115-113 in favor of Parker.
The fight was already conducted in the early hours of the morning and was broadcasted on HBO to kick off the Terence Crawford vs. John Molina telecast. Here is an excerpt from our live viewing party detailing the fight.
Parker is winning the middle portion of the fight after Ruiz was the one who had gotten into his opponent's head earlier in the fight. Parker is moving across the ring and taking his time to use the jab effectively. Ruiz is getting back into a better groove, connecting better on his jabs and hooks to Parker's face.
The end of the fight is still very close and both men had been connecting on their jabs and stiff hooks and it's almost a toss up on how the fight goes. The cards prove that with how close the score was. The fight wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. Against other world-class fighters such as Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Wladimir Klitschko, Parker still does not hold up to that standard, at least not yet.
Parker now has 120 days to fight Hughie Fury, cousin of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, in his first defense as the WBO champion. Parker is undefeated in all 22 fights as a professional fighter, while Ruiz Jr. lost his first fight as a pro boxer.
The title was vacated by Tyson Fury after his numerous personal problems that involved positive drug tests and a possible mental disease diagnosis.