Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz 2 official for Dec. 7 in Saudi Arabia
By Kenneth Friedman: It’s official that Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. will be fighting on December 7 in a rematch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sky Sports Box Office. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn made the official news announcement for the Joshua s. Ruiz Jr. rematch just moments ago for Saudi Arabia.
This is the neutral venue that IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) and his team were looking to get. They didn’t want to travel to the UK and fight Joshua on his home turf, and take their chances of something controversial happening. Ruiz, 29, shocked the boxing world with a seventh round knockout of unbeaten Joshua on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Andy Ruiz destroyed Anthony Joshua last June
Ruiz smashed Joshua in knocking him to the canvas four times before the referee halted the fight. Joshua has since complained about what he felt was a premature stoppage. The referee did the right thing, because Joshua had no ability to take the incoming fire from Ruiz.
The win for ‘The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. made him the first Mexican heavyweight world champion. Ruiz’s life is now completely different, as the victory has financially made him a wealthy man.
Joshua couldn’t force Ruiz to fight in UK
Hearn had the ability to force the rematch to take place in the UK, but Ruiz might have refused. That would have made a mess of things for Hearn, Matchroom and Joshua. It was clear from Ruiz’s side that he wouldn’t have ever agreed to fight Joshua in the UK. Given what took place recently with Dillian Whyte in his match against Oscar Rivas on July 20 in London, England, Ruiz wouldn’t have gone to the UK.
The last thing that Ruiz wanted was to come to the UK, and find himself on the receiving end of slanted officiating or scoring in Joshua’s favor. Joshua was involved two highly questionable fights against Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker in the UK. Ruiz wanted no part in fighting Joshua under those circumstances. Joshua called his loss to Ruiz, a “minor setback.” Some believe that Joshua has become drunk and deluded from the many mismatches Hearn has set him up with.
The money offered by the Saudi organizers was obviously too good for Matchroom and Ruiz’s promoters to turn down. It’s going to be a hardship for many of Joshua and Ruiz’s boxing fans to make the long trek to Saudi Arabia to see the rematch. That’s not downside, but at least the fight got made. Hearn and Ruiz’s management have been in negotiations for a considerable amount of time. Ruiz wanted the rematch to take place in Mexico or the U.S, but Hearn wanted no part of that. Joshua left it up to Hearn and his training team to make the decision.
Joshua will be trying to win back his IBF/WBA/WBO titles
AJ will be trying to recapture his IBF, WBA and WBO world titles to become a two-time heavyweight champion. Before running into the Ruiz express last June, Joshua held a 22-0 record, and his promoter Hearn talked of him holding the world titles for the next 10 years. In hindsight, Hearn was naive, and blind to the warning signs that were prevalent from Joshua’s fights against Wladimir Klitschko, Whyte, Parker and Takam. Those contests showed that Joshua’s world title reign would be a short one.
Joshua won his first world title in beating a vulnerable champion Charles Martin in 2016. A year later, Joshua added a second title in beating inactive former world champion Klitschko, who came off of a 2-year layoff to almost beat AJ. Joshua was shockingly dropped by the 40-year-old Wladimir in the sixth, and was ready to be stopped. If not for the Ukrainian’s disastrous decision to try and win a decision, Joshua would have been knocked out by Wladimir.
Joshua’s career could implode with a second loss to Ruiz
Ruiz Jr. could be about to end Joshua’s career with a second knockout victory over him. Joshua had been warned repeatedly by past boxing greats like George Foreman and Lennox Lewis that he’s making a mistake in facing Ruiz in an immediate rematch, but he’s failed to heed their advice. Joshua recently said that if anyone doesn’t agree with his decision to face Ruiz in an immediate rematch, then they’re not cut from the same cloth as him. Hearn could be crying crocodile tears if Joshua loses a second time to Ruiz, because it’s going to be difficult for the British promoter to save his career.