Flores spices up fight with Andy Ruiz taunt

Nelson Mail - - Sport - Dun­can John­stone

Alexan­der Flores has taunted Joseph Parker, claim­ing the Kiwi lost to Andy Ruiz in their WBO world heavy­weight ti­tle fight.

Put it down to loy­alty, but Flores is adamant that Ruiz, a fel­low Mex­i­canAmer­i­can, won the De­cem­ber, 2016, fight in Auck­land for the belt va­cated by Tyson Fury.

Parker came from be­hind to claim a ma­jor­ity points de­ci­sion, a re­sult that drew plenty of crit­i­cism but launched Parker to in­ter­na­tional star­dom and mil­lion­aire sta­tus.

Flores had Ruiz in­volved in his Cal­i­for­nian train­ing camp and built a good friend­ship as he pre­pared to fight Parker in Christchurch next Satur­day.

Flores fronted the me­dia in Auck­land yesterday and didn’t hold back when asked his thoughts about the Parker v Ruiz fight. ‘‘Ac­tu­ally, he did lose to Andy Ruiz . . . ob­vi­ously he was gifted that fight, we know that for a fact,’’ Flores said.

‘‘I saw the fight again re­cently. Don’t get me wrong, it was a close fight but Andy edged it out.’’

Flores wants to do what Ruiz couldn’t and be­come Mex­ico’s first world heavy­weight cham­pion. He sees Parker as a good launch­ing pad to that dream and knows the Kiwi’s scalp would be trea­sured.

‘‘It’s a huge op­por­tu­nity,’’ Flores said. While he came into the pro ranks two years be­fore Parker, Flores hasn’t had the same pro­mo­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties in a 19-fight ca­reer that fea­tures 15 knock­outs in 17 wins with one loss and a draw.

He hasn’t had the same class of op­po­si­tion as Parker (24-2) but be­lieves he can make up for that with the sort of peo­ple he has sur­rounded him­self with.

He has had ti­tle con­tender Do­minic Breazeale and for­mer world cham­pion Charles Martin, the only fighter to beat him, help­ing him in spar­ring along with other qual­ity fighters.

‘‘Joseph has more ex­pe­ri­ence than me on his record but ex­pe­ri­ence comes from spar­ring too,’’ a con­fi­dent Flores said, re­it­er­at­ing his be­lief he can be the first fighter to knock out Parker.

‘‘When you are spar­ring with top con­tenders and world cham­pi­ons some­times you are learn­ing more in spar­ring than ac­tual fights. We have the best heavy­weights out in Cal­i­for­nia.

‘‘If I wasn’t con­fi­dent I wouldn’t be tak­ing this fight. I know what needs to be done and I’ve had great qual­ity spar­ring and I don’t see this fight go­ing the dis­tance.’’

Flores is itching for ac­tion.

‘‘My camp went well, I’m ready to go. I told my coach a cou­ple of weeks ago I was ready to fight there and then. But the more time the bet­ter, I guess, for sharp­en­ing the tools.’’

The fight will now be over 12 rounds not 10 with the in­terim WBA Ocea­nia ti­tle on the line which will be valu­able to the win­ner in terms of fu­ture rank­ings.


Alexan­der Flores isn’t afraid of call­ing out Kiwi ri­val Joseph Parker.

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