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Hearn expects to decide Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch venue this weekend

Anthony Joshua boxing photo

By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says expects to make a decision this weekend for the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. venue for their rematch. Hearn states that he had a few late “approaches from other sites that delayed things,” according to Dan Rafael of ESPN. As Hearn mentioned previously, the UK and U.S are the front runners for the location of the Joshua and Ruiz Jr. rematch.

Hearn has talked of being on the verge of making an announcement for the venue for the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. fight for the last four weeks. It’s starting to appear a little odd that he keeps delaying it. Hearn has been crying wolf a little too long now.

Is Hearn delaying the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch venue to help ticket sales for Whyte vs. Rivas card?

Some boxing fans believe the real reason Hearn has been delaying the announcement of the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. rematch venue is to keep the attention, such as it is, on the upcoming Matchroom Boxing card headlined by Dillian Whyte vs. Oscar Rivas on July 20 on Sky Box Office at the O2 Arena in London, England. There’s talk of poor ticket sales for that fight.

The announcement of the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch venue would likely further hurt ticket sales for the Whyte-Rivas fight. Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum mentioned last week that Hearn still hasn’t announced the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Luke Campbell fight. It’s believed that Hearn doesn’t want to make an announcement on that right now in order not to hurt the Whyte-Rivas ticket sales.

Whyte vs. Rivas undercard is poor

The major problem the Whyte vs. Rivas card has is it’s a poor fight, and the undercard is woeful, filled with mismatches from top to bottom. In hindsight, Hearn should have picked a well known heavyweight to face Whyte instead of Rivas. What makes it even worse is Hearn selected Rivas for Whyte to fight, and he’s been telling the World Boxing Council to make that fight an official WBC title eliminator. Hearn should have had Whyte fight Luis Ortiz. Had he done that, the ticket sales would be strong.

These are the fights on the Whyte-Rivas undercard:

  • Dereck Chisora vs. Artur Szpilka
  • Lawrence Okolie vs. TBA
  • David Allen vs. David Price
  • Richard Riakporhe vs. Chris Billiam-Smith
  • Dalton Smith vs. TBA
  • Charlie Duffield vs. Dan Azeez

The undercard for the Whyte vs. Rivas is too poor for it to drive ticket sales, and to make up for the lackluster main event. When you hand pick a fringe contender to throw inside the ring with Whyte, you’ve got to stack the undercard to make up for that. Hearn has failed to do that. Rivas was selected from the #10 spot in the WBC’s rankings for Whyte to fight.

Instead of the WBC driving the process to order Whyte to fight a top contender like Luis Ortiz, Hearn hand-picked Rivas, and he’s been pushing the WBC to make the Whyte-Rivas fight an official eliminator ever since. It looks bad. Beside that, Rivas fought horribly in his last fight against Bryant Jennings. The fight was even going into the 12th round when Rivas scored a knockout over the 34-year-old Jennings.

Hearn wants Joshua-Ruiz Jr. rematch in UK

Joshua has made it clear that he wants to come back to New York for the rematch with Ruiz Jr., but Hearn says he feels the second fight should take place in the UK. It even things out if the second fight is staged in the UK. Joshua sees it as a situation where he attempting to win over the American boxing public in fighting a bottom dweller in #15 WBO Andy Ruiz Jr. Things fell apart for Joshua with Ruiz scoring a seventh round knockout.

For Joshua to give up on fighting Ruiz in the U.S, it would mean that he would have little chance of ever winning over American fans. Even if Joshua beats Ruiz in the rematch in the UK, the U.S fans would still have the image of AJ getting knocked out in New York. Hearn is focusing on the big picture in wanting Joshua to have an advantage over Ruiz so that he can save his career. He NEEDS Joshua to win the fight at all costs, even if it makes him look weak in having to go back to the UK to fight.

Joshua needs a win at all costs

It’s no longer about Joshua winning over the United States fans. That train has passed. It’s now more about Hearn wanting Joshua to save his career. It’s doubly important for Joshua to win this fight, because he’s the #1 moneymaker for Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing promotional company. If Joshua’s career implodes with a second knockout loss to Ruiz Jr. in New York, Hearn won’t have another fighter from his stable that can step into AJ’s shoes to become the next gravy train fighter.

Hearn is pushing former undisputed cruiserweight champion Aleksandr Usyk hard to get him a crack at a world title, but he looks slow, flabby and weak now that he’s packed on some pounds to bulk up to fight in the heavyweight division. Usyk’s fighting style is arguably boring to watch, and more suited to the amateur ranks than the pro game. It’s arguably a pipe dream on Hearn’s part to turn the light hitting Usyk into a major superstar worldwide. If he wins a world title, it’ll likely be a finesse job. Usyk is like this era’s version of Chris Byrd or Jimmy Young.

Don’t be surprised if Hearn delays announcement of Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch until July 21

It’s predictable that Hearn will wait until after the Whyte vs. Rivas fight on July 20 to finally make an announcement for the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. rematch. If Hearn waits until a day after the Whyte-Rivas fight, then it won’t impact the ticket sales and pay-per-view numbers for the fight card.

Joshua-Ruiz Jr. venue may not make a difference

Although Hearn believes that Joshua will be better off fighting the Ruiz Jr. rematch in the UK, it probably won’t have an effect on the outcome. Ruiz Jr. is going to take the fight to Joshua just like he did in their first match, and quickly tire him out to score another stoppage. The fight isn’t going to go to the cards, that’s for sure. The only way that Joshua has a shot of winning is if a referee is picked out that prevents Ruiz Jr. from getting close to Joshua.

In Joshua’s fight against Joseph Parker last year in Cardiff, Wales, the referee prevented fighting on the inside. He didn’t appear to know the rules of boxing, and this helped Joshua in a HUGE way, because he was able to fight on outside all night long rather than have to deal with Parker getting close enough to land his big shots. If that type of referee is selected for the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. rematch, then Joshua would have an excellent chance of winning. There used to be referees like that in the U.S, but you don’t see that too often anymore.

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