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WBO sanctions Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz Jr.

The two are ranked #1 and #3 by the WBO, respectively.

Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

One of Tyson Fury’s wayward belts has found a home.

Earlier today, the World Boxing Organization gave the okay for undefeated heavyweights Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz Jr. to battle it out on December 10th for the now-vacant title. The fight will take place in Parker’s native New Zealand, though the exact venue has not been announced.

Parker (21-0, 18 KO), who had previously been tabbed to face Anthony Joshua sometime in the near future, has fought and won four times already in 2016, including a decision over Carlos Takam and blowout thrashings of Solomon Haumono and Alexander Dimitrenko. If the fight with Ruiz goes through, it will mark his fifteenth fight in three years.

That’s not a given, of course. Ruiz (29-0, 19 KO) recently pulled out of a fight with Hughie Fury on the doomed Klitschko-Fury II card because, if I’m interpreting his word salad correctly, he was unhappy with his management. He’s undeniably skilled and significantly faster than his frame would suggest, but there’s never any telling where his head in.

Still, it’s a good, competitive fight if Ruiz comes in focused. Parker’s not a flawless fighter and, though he’ll be massively favored, this could be dangerous for him.

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