Parker Beats Ruiz, Becomes WBO Champion

Joseph Parker has made history. The Kiwi boxer became New Zealand’s first heavyweight champion on Saturday, when he defeated Andy Ruiz by decision to capture the WBO belt. The fight took place in Parker’s home country, at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.

Two judges scored the fight for Parker, 115-113. The third judge scored the fight a draw.

It was a competitive affair throughout, with Ruiz winning the early rounds before Parker found his rhythm. As expected, the aggressive Ruiz had Parker backing up for much of the fight, but Parker did well to adjust in the fight’s second half to land punches on the forward-pressing Ruiz.

"What a dream come true," Parker said after the bout. "[Ruiz] showed he was a great fighter."

Ruiz was disappointed in the judges’ decision, asking for a rematch after a fight in which he believes he should have gotten the nod.

"I think [I] got the win or at least a draw. I think I set the pace with my jab," Ruiz said. "Maybe we’ll get the rematch."

Though the victory was not the dominant win that Parker hoped for, he achieved his goal of becoming champion and has set himself up nicely for some big matchups in 2017.

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