Joseph Parker has got close and personal with his next opponent Andy Ruiz Jr in Las Vegas but will be doing all he can to keep him at arm's length when they meet for the WBO world heavyweight title on December 10.

The pair - former sparring partners - met by chance at the recent Manny Pacquiao v Jesse Vargas fight in the city. A picture taken by Taylor Barry, son of Parker's trainer Kevin, and posted on social media, shows the height advantage the New Zealander will take into the ring.

And that is something the 24-year-old Parker will be keen to make the most of given Ruiz Jr's hand speed and ability to fight on the inside.

In a recent interview at his Las Vegas base with, Parker said: "I'm going to use my height and my reach, and I'm not going to let him come in. I have huge trust in our training, huge trust in what Kevin is teaching me. Put anyone in front of me when I'm at my best and I'll beat anyone."


A resolution to the saga of where the fight will be held should made in the next few days - and it's still likely to be Auckland, despite the funding issue turning political.

One thing appears beyond doubt, and that is given the abilities of both undefeated fighters, the match-up has the potential to be one of the best heavyweight bouts in the world this year.

Trainer Barry said in the interview: "Andy is a very dangerous puncher, a very hard puncher, an undefeated fighter, a guy with a terrific pedigree. He is a former Olympian.

"When I look at that fight of Joseph Parker v Andy Ruiz, as a boxing fan that's one hell of an exciting fight. Both of them are very aggressive, both have very fast hands, both of them like to come forward. There's going to be a lot of fireworks.

"Just as we have never had a heavyweight champion from New Zealand or Samoa, so there has never been a Mexican heavyweight champion, so somebody on the 10th of December is going to make history. I believe that somebody will be Joe Parker."

Parker said: "I gave an interview at the end of last year or the start of this year where I said 'give me one year and I'll be champion of the world'. It looks like it's heading that way. The buzzy thing about it is it's going to be in New Zealand - or it should be - and we're going to make history."