TODAY |

Joseph Parker to face 'Samoan Andy Ruiz' in US debut

Kiwi heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker's next opponent has been confirmed as Australian-Samoan Alex Leapai. The pair will fight later this month in the United States.

Having signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing, Parker was initially tipped to take on American heavyweight Eric Molina, before he pulled out for undisclosed reasons.

Instead, Parker will face off against 39-year old Leapai - who boasts a record of 32 wins, sevens defeats and four draws as a professional fighter, labelling himself as the "Samoan Andy Ruiz."

New Zealand's Joseph Parker v USA's Alexander Flores. Parker v Flores fight night heavyweight boxing. Christchurch Casino, Christchurch, New Zealand. Saturday 15 December 2018 © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
New Zealand's Joseph Parker in action against Alexander Flores during their boxing bout in Christchurch. Source: Photosport

"This will be the second massive upset this year because Parker is getting sparked," Leapai said. "Then I'm going to take Andy's Snickers off him!"

"I am the Samoan Andy Ruiz – the guy everyone writes off."

Meanwhile, Parker is out to impress in his first appearance in the USA, as he bids for another attempt at a world heavyweight title.

"A stoppage would be nice, that's the goal going into every fight. I just have to change up the mind set to not only go in there and win, but go in and KO someone and make a statement," Parker said.

Meanwhile, Parker's new promoter Eddie Hearn backed up the desire to see the Kiwi prove himself as a heavyweight contender once again.

"For Joe, it's about looking good and making a statement to the division that he is ready to try and reclaim his world title," Hearn said.

Leapai has fought for a world title in the past, losing to Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014.

Parker and Leapai will square off on June 30 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Alex Leapai
Alex Leapai Source: Getty