By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
New Zealand promoter Dean Lonergan said the WBO heavyweight title clash between WBO #3 Andy Ruiz (29-0, 19 KOs) and his fighter, WBO #1, IBF #1 Joseph Parker (21-0, 18 KOs), could end up in America if he cannot get the necessary backing in New Zealand.
Dean Lonergan: “We are in discussions with a huge array of people. But they all have to come together in a very tight space of time. Obviously, it’s a massive event. It’s a historical event for New Zealand and it’s something that David Higgins and myself are incredibly keen to make happen. But we are first and foremost a business and it has to be commercially viable. We have to raise seven figures to make this thing work and that’s never been done on a boxing match here before. We might break it down and say, ‘if it makes a loss, it makes a loss and we have to suck it up.’
“We would much prefer to have the fight here (in New Zealand) and in the long term interests of Joseph Parker, we want to give him any advantage we can to win this fight. But at the end of the day, we have fiscal responsibilities to worry about. If we can’t make it happen here and Bob wants to take the commercial risk, well, so be it. We’ll shrug our shoulders and move on. For Bob, it’s just another world title fight. He’s probably done hundreds of them. But for us, it’s a big deal.”
Bob Arum (Ruiz promoter): “So the ball is in their court. They’re lovely people. Joe Parker’s a terrific kid, Dean Lonergan, the promoter, is a really nice guy but my deal is in any event that they have first option to see if they can put it in New Zealand.”