Andy Ruiz Jr. wants $50 million to fight Anthony Joshua in UK
By Barry Holbrook: It’s going to be expensive for Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn to setup a rematch between IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and former unified champion Anthony Joshua for the UK in November.
Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) made it clear on Wednesday that if Joshua and his management want him to travel to the UK for the rematch, they’re going to need to pay him $50 million for the fight. He’s not going to go over to the UK for less than what, and put himself at a disadvantage fighting in front of a large crowd of Joshua supporters.
Joshua was knocked down four times in losing to Ruiz Jr. by an upset seventh round knockout last weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York. It was Joshua’s debut in the U.S., and his fans and team believe that he lost because he was in a strange environment in American and not the UK. For that reason, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants to bring the rematch to the UK so that he has a better chance of winning. Another loss for Joshua could end his career as a huge money maker for Matchroom Sport. His career could go on, but his money-making ability could be curtailed, which obviously is important, would likely drop off considerably. Hearn might be able to rebuild Joshua if he goes back to carefully matching him like he’d been doing in his first 22 fights as a pro against old guys and/or fighters with limited talent.
Andy Ruiz Jr. says It’ll cost $50M to go to UK
“Right now my team, they’re negotiating everything right now,” said Ruiz Jr. to Fighthub. “I’ve just got to stay busy, stay healthy and be ready for the rematch. I’d love it to be here in the United States or in Mexico, you know. It all depends on the team and what they negotiate. If they want me to go over there, they’ve got to give me $50 million dollars. If they want to come over here. It’s just negotiations, you know.”
Yes, it’s just negotiations after all, right? The Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch could be the biggest heavyweight fight involving a British fighter in the history of the sport. For that reason, it’s understandable why the 29-year-old Ruiz Jr. would want to be well paid for the fight, especially if he has to come all the way to the UK to fight in front of a crowd that could be as large as 90,000 fans if Hearn stages the fight at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Ruiz fought Joshua in front of a large crowd of mostly British fans last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, and it still didn’t help him. Ruiz Jr. took care of Joshua in knocking him out in the seventh round after knocking him down four times in the fight. Joshua might not be any better fighting in front of a larger crowd of his supporters than he was last weekend. Joshua was almost knocked out by inactive 40-year-old Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 while fighting in front of a large crowd of his fans at Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately for Joshua, his fans can’t take the shots from Ruiz for him.
Principality Stadium in Cardiff the front-runner for Joshua vs. Ruiz rematch
The venue for the rematch between AJ and Ruiz Jr. is expected to be the 78,000 seat Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Joshua has fought there before against Carlos Takam in October 2017 and former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in March 2018. Unfortunately, both fights had an element of controversy that tainted the fights. In the Joshua-Takam fight, the referee Phil Edwards just jumped in out of the blue stopped the fight, and raised Joshua’s hand as the winner. Takam wasn’t hurt, and the action was still back and forth. It was a VERY odd stoppage, which left many boxing fans unhappy with the ending. If the Joshua vs. Ruiz 2 fight takes place at the Principality Stadium, there needs to be a referee selected that doesn’t have a past history of stopping fights prematurely. The last thing that fans need is for a referee to halt the fight when one of the two fighters is unhurt.
The next controversial fight for Joshua at Principality Stadium was his match against Parker. In that fight, the referee appeared to be unclear on the rules of boxing, as he prevented inside fighting. Each time the shorter 6’3″ Parker would attempt to get in close to throw shots against the taller 6’6″ Joshua, the referee Giuseppe Quartarone would separate the fighters. This benefited Joshua to the extreme, because he didn’t have to worry about Parker getting close enough to land shots. Given the controversy that’s taken place at the Principality Stadium, it wouldn’t be surprising if Ruiz’s management reject that venue. Ruiz could be asking for trouble if he were to agree to go to that venue.
Ruiz: ‘Joshua will try and box me in the rematch’
“I took it to him, and he didn’t want to continue,” said Ruiz about Joshua. “I think I would have knocked him out in a dramatic other way [if the referee hadn’t stopped it in the seventh round]. The referee did his job. He hits pretty hard if he put me on the canvas. I think it was a lucky shot him putting me on the canvas. Those lucky shots can end a night. They did say November or December. My team is negotiating everything right now. If we do the rematch, I think he’s going to be a little bit more cautious. I think he’s going to try and box me around, but Anthony’s not good at moving back [or] moving. But if we both exchange punches, I’m going to easily [beat Joshua],” said Ruiz.
It’s pretty obvious that Joshua will try and box Ruiz in the rematch. Joshua already found out that he doesn’t possess the chin, stamina, defense or overall boxing skills to fight Ruiz by standing his ground. For the rematch, Joshua will likely move around the ring, use his jab, and make sure Ruiz can’t get in close to land his power shots. It’s likely that Joshua will lose some of his muscle weight so that can move better around the ring in the second fight. Joshua has been consistently in the 240s since 2014. That’s five years.
“I’ve got the faster hands, and I can take a punch,” said Ruiz. “I think it’s going to be a really exciting fight between [Deontay] Wilder and [Luis] Ortiz. To me, I think Wilder is going to win. Ortiz is a little bit older. I’ve love to get in there with Wilder as well. I think that’s the only belt that I’m missing [the WBC heavyweight title], and to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, I need that belt,” said Ruiz Jr.