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Parker wins WBO title

International Sports

Joseph Parker embrases dad. RHJoseph Parker embrases dad. RHJoseph Parker has punched his way into NZ sport's history books. Here's how the fight played out.

Joseph Parker proved as good as his word as he became the first New Zealand-born heavyweight world boxing champion.

An impressive Parker battled hard over the back end of the fight to beat Mexico's Andy Ruiz in Auckland on Saturday night to win the vacant WBO belt by majority points decision.

The judges scored the 12-round bout 114-114, 115-113, 115-113 a reflection of how close it was.

The 24-year-old believed he was in the best shape of his career and promised to use his increased weight and size alongside his noted jab and hand speed to torment Ruiz.

He did that just - and so fulfilled his childhood dream and his late grandfather's prophecy, to win a world title.

Parker's quest now will be to go on and unify the top of the sport's glamour division. The WBO belt represents the first rung on a ladder of four to the ultimate glory as the undisputed champion.

The IBF, WBA and WBC wait and there will be genuine concern and caution in those areas as Parker continues to do more than just rattle the ranks.

He is a genuine talent at the highest level now and will command respect and some massive paydays as his handlers plot a course forward in 2017.

Parker will take a deserved Christmas break now and have time to reflect on how far he has come in four years as a professional boxer, and the unique achievement that gives him a special place in New Zealand sporting history.

Ruiz, who had won 29 fights heading into this momentous occasion in front of 10,000 at Vector Arena, suffered the first loss of his career in a brutal and brave display. The 27-year-old returns home empty-handed and Mexico, such a proud boxing nation, must still wait for their first heavyweight champion.

Parker extended his unbeaten run to 22 fights and celebrated in style in the ring. For the first time in his career he lifted both hands high read it as a V for victory or a W for world title. He said he would only extend both arms to the heavens once he had won a world championship and he did exactly that.

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