Boxing: Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker throws down gauntlet to Andy Ruiz for rematch

Kiwi heavyweight hope Joseph Parker has publicly challenged old rival Andy Ruiz to a rematch of their 2016 world championship bout at Auckland.

The pair already enjoy a connection in boxing history, meeting for the vacant WBO crown, after then-champion Tyson Fury tested positive for cocaine and took time out of the sport to recover from depression.

Parker won a majority decision to capture the belt and defended it twice, before losing it to Brit Anthony Joshua in 2018.

Ironically, Ruiz, 32, briefly took the title - along with the WBA, IBF and IBO spoils - off Joshua the following year, but lost the rematch six months later. Those losses to Parker and Joshua remain the only blemishes on his 34-2 record.

As they await their next shot at the prize, Parker has reached out to his old foe - both formally and informally - to entice him back in the ring.

"Who's keen for this rematch with @Andy_destroyer1?" tweets Parker. "My team been reaching out, bro... let's make it happen."

Legendary ring announceer Michael Buffer has retweeted: "Great rematch #LetsGetReadyToRumble"

Both sides have often talked of a do-over and that prospect makes even more sense now, as their futures hang in limbo.

Since losing to Joshua, the first Mexican world heavyweight champion has stepped into the ring only once, dispatching American journeyman Chris Arreola by unanimous decision last May.

He is still ranked behind third among contenders for Oleksandr Usyk's world crown, behind Brit Joe Joyce and Parker - and ahead of Joshua.

Meanwhile, Parker is enjoying a career resurgence, after dispatching Dereck Chisora for the second time - far more convincingly than his first victory - with possibly his best performance since his Joshua defeat.

Since that result, he has turned down the chance to face unbeaten Croatian Filip Hrgovic in an IBF eliminator.