Topic: Boxing

Parker’s opponent Ruiz Jr receives Māori welcome

By Tamati Tiananga
  • Auckland

Mexican Heavyweight boxer Andy Ruiz Jr arrived in Auckland, New Zealand ahead of the highly anticipated bout against Joseph Parker for the WBO World Title fight at Auckland’s Vector Arena, Saturday 10th December. 

Andy Ruiz Jr says “It's the opportunity of a lifetime. I've been training my ass off for this fight. Me and Joseph Parker are going to give out a good fight, there are going to be a lot of fireworks on December 10. I'm ready to rock and roll."

Ruiz Jr and his entourage were greeted by an Auckland-based group called KaiHaka lead by leader and haka exponent Eru Rarere-Wilton.  The Haka powhiri group has welcomed many of the world's biggest stars like Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Demi Lovato and Fall Out Boy and other visiting stars in recent years.

Ruiz Jr says "Every culture and every country has their own thing; I appreciated what they were doing and I enjoyed it".

The heavyweight fighter arrived in New Zealand wearing the All Blacks new alternate strip jersey worn recently against France in Paris. The jersey was a gift given to him by award winning Television Producer and Pango Productions CEO, Bailey Mackey who has been in LA on Business. Mackey meet Ruiz in the Los Angeles Air NZ Koru Lounge and was on the same flight with the Mexican boxer.

Ruiz Jr says, “A fan from New Zealand actually gave it to me, he said it was a new one so I appreciate that."

The only member missing from Andy Ruiz Jr entourage was his trainer Abel Sanchez, who is in Moscow for a world title fight with his cruiserweight Murat Gassiev. Sanchez is due to arrive in New Zealand on Wednesday.