By: Hans Themistode
It was a long and painful fall from grace for former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. At one point, the New Zealand native proudly held his world title and defended it successfully against all comers. However, following back-to-back defeats at the hands of both Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte – Parker began scrambling for answers.
Subsequently, the 30-year-old has gone back to the drawing board and returned as a new man. As a result, the proud New Zealander has reeled off six consecutive victories and now finds himself firmly in the thick of things for another world title opportunity.
With championship glory within his reach, Parker reveals that he’s recently reached out to his longtime rival, Andy Ruiz Jr. The two clashed in December of 2016, with the vacant WBO crown on the line. Though their contest was extremely close, it was Parker who emerged with the majority decision victory.
Considering that Ruiz Jr. is a marquee name in the heavyweight division, Parker would love the opportunity to run things back.
“It was a close fight, the first fight with Andy,” said Parker during an interview with Behind The Gloves. “I want to make that fight. My manager David Higgins has been trying to get in touch with his management or his promotional team. At the moment, we haven’t heard back but I even text Andy myself and said ‘hey, it would be great if we can have a rematch.’ He said he’ll keep that in mind.”
Ruiz Jr., 31, has seen his standing in the pugilistic sport change dramatically since his first meeting with Parker. The Mexican native strung together a three-fight win streak before facing off against former unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua in 2019. Though Ruiz Jr. was viewed as a sizable underdog, he waltzed into New York’s Madison Square Garden and proceeded to violently rip away Joshua’s heavyweight titles via seventh-round stoppage.
Although his championship reign was transient, Ruiz Jr. has rededicated himself to the sport of boxing with the help of Eddy Reynoso and pound-for-pound star, Canelo Alvarez. In Ruiz Jr.’s first trip to the ring since dropping his heavyweight titles, he outpointed fringe contender Chris Arreola.
Despite the ups and downs of his career, Parker applauds Ruiz Jr.’s accomplishments. Still, if a sequel between the pair can be organized, Parker not only believes he’ll emerge victorious once again, but this time around, he’ll do so in brutal fashion.
“He’s done a lot since we first fought,” admitted Parker. “I’ve done quite a bit as well since we first fought. I think it would be a great matchup but I back myself to take care of business. He’s very durable and very tough. He has that Mexican style and that Mexican sort of confidence within himself but in the heavyweight division, one punch can change everything. If I land a good punch, I think I can definitely stop him.”
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