Joseph Parker (right) vs. Andy Ruiz. Photo courtesy of Duco Events
Joseph Parker will face Alex Leapai on his return to action at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday June 29 live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
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Parker (25-2 19 KOs) returned to action in December with a third round KO win in Christchurch following two huge fights in the UK, first taking on Anthony Joshua in a unification blockbuster in Cardiff in March 2018 and then shared 12 rollercoaster rounds with Dillian Whyte in London in July.
The Kiwi fights for the first time under the Matchroom Boxing USA banner and national pride will be at stake as he meets Leapai (32-7-4 26 KOs). The Samoan-Australian, who spent part of his childhood in New Zealand, boxes in America for the first time in a lengthy career that saw him challenge Wladimir Klitschko for his World titles in April 2014.
Parker’s ultimate goal is to regain his status as World champion and the former WBO ruler believes he will shine on July 29, but Leapai is hoping to pull off a shock in the style of newly crowned World champion Andy Ruiz Jr, who dethroned Parker’s old foe Anthony Joshua in the last Heavyweight action on DAZN.
“Over the past six years of being a professional this is the first time that I’ve come into camp at a good weight,” said Parker. “I’m enjoying camp more as a result I think, because we’re working more on skills and technique rather than focusing on losing weight. I feel faster, I feel everything is clicking, less injuries and everything is on track.
“With each opponent you see what their style brings and you adjust accordingly what you will do in the ring, there’s a lot that I am doing that I am excited about, like making angels and throwing different combinations, and I’m just looking forward to putting it on display on June 29.
“A stoppage would be nice, that’s the goal going into every fight. I just have to change up the mind set to not only go in there and win, but go in and KO someone and make a statement. This is my first fight with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN so I want to make that statement, there’s no pressure but I do have to go out there and look good.
“I would love to avenge the losses that I have had against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte. I’ll fight them tomorrow. But Dillian is trying to fight for the WBC title so respect to him for that, but if the opportunity came along I would love that fight again.”
“I am the Samoan Andy Ruiz – the guy everyone writes off,” said Leapai. “This will be the second massive upset this year because Parker is getting sparked. Then I’m going to take Andy’s Snickers off him!”
“This is going to be an exciting fight between two big punchers with plenty of pride on the line,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “For Joe, it’s about looking good and making a statement to the division that he is ready to try and reclaim his World title. For Alex, it’s a shot to nothing to put himself right back in the mix – he’s talking a great game but we expect a show stopping performance from Joseph Parker in Providence on June 29.
Parker’s clash with Leapai is part of a blockbuster night of World championship action in Rhode Island as unbeaten hometown favourite Demetrius Andrade defends his WBO Middleweight strap against Poland’s Maciej Sulecki, unbeaten Briton Kal Yafai puts his WBA Super-Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Norbelto Jimenez.
Boston’s Mark DeLuca faces Canadian Brandon Brewer over ten rounds at Super-Welterweight, young talents Alexis Espino and Raymond Ford taste their third action in the paid ranks, local favorite Anthony Marsella faces Jose Aubel, with another unbeaten Providence fighter Anthony Concepcion also featuring.
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