Ruiz: “Willing to Die” To Beat Parker

Andy Ruiz will be the shorter fighter when he steps into the ring with Joseph Parker in New Zealand on Saturday, but that is nothing new to the Mexican heavyweight. He has had the shorter height and reach in most of his 29 fights, and he’s won them all. Ruiz believes that his upcoming WBO title fight will be no different.

Ruiz fights Parker for the vacant WBO heavyweight belt in Auckland, New Zealand on Dec. 10. Parker will have a few distinct advantages; he is the hometown hero, of course, and will also be the longer and taller fighter in the ring. Ruiz, who has built his career on being the shorter man, is more than prepared for the Kiwi’s strengths.

"All the sparring partners I’ve had and a lot of the fighters I’ve fought, they were always bigger than me, taller than me, longer reach, and I think that’s where my comfort zone is at," Ruiz said.

In fact, Ruiz (29-0) says he prefers to fight tall, long fighters because it plays into his strategy in the ring. Known for quicker footwork and hands than his frame would imply, Ruiz is an expert at closing distance and negating the advantages of his opponent.

"I like fighting taller guys who have longer reach, I like to get in and get out, and throw my combinations."

Parker will be Ruiz’s stiffest test, as he too is undefeated and has won a majority of his 21 victories by knockout. Neither man has been knocked down yet, but Ruiz is prepared for that to change on Saturday. His training camp has been specifically tailored to getting him in shape without losing any of his power.

"We didn’t want to lose too much weight for this fight. We want to be strong and prepared. It’s a life-or-death fight. I’m going to die trying to get that belt and God willing, on my side, we’re going to get it."

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