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Joshua vs. Ruiz ‘Clash on the Dunes’ kickoff press conference on Monday

Anthony Joshua Andy Ruiz Clash on the Dunes Joshua vs Ruiz

By Charles Brun: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn will be making an announcement about the information on the December 7th Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz 2 rematch this Monday in a news conference in London, England. The fight will be shown on Sky Box Office in the UK, as well on DAZN in the United States. There have been recent fights in Saudi Arabia involving George Groves vs. Callum Smith and Amir Khan vs. Billy Dib. But those fights were nowhere near the size and magnitude that the Joshua vs. Ruiz 2 rematch is expected to be.

The Joshua-Ruiz 2 rematch is being called, “Clash on the Dunes”, and it’ll be taking place in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. The rematch will take place in an outdoor stadium on the 7th of December, according to Dan Rafael.

It’s the best they could come up with for the Joshua vs. Ruiz rematch, and hopefully the fight isn’t ruined by poor officiating. We saw that in Joshua’s matches against Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker. The judges didn’t mar the fights. It was the referees that worked those fights that tainted Joshua’s wins.

Ruiz refused to fight in the UK

Andy wasn’t going to let Joshua have the home country advantage, and that was clear from day one. Hearn has been keeping the information secret about the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. 2 rematch until today. The group that’s funding the rematch, Skill Challenge Entertainment, is paying massive money to bring the Joshua vs. Ruiz rematch to Saudi Arabia. Omar Khalil, who works for Skill Management Entertainment, will be on hand for Monday’s press conference in London.

Hearn wanted Joshua-Ruiz rematch in Cardiff, Wales

If not for a big offer coming from Skill Challenge Entertainment to stage the fight in Saudi Arabia, Hearn was poised to have the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. 2 rematch take place in Cardiff, Wales. Hearn had tunnel vision, as far as wanting the second fight to take place in Cardiff. Joshua had a perfect 2-0 record in fights in Cardiff against tough opposition. Hearn wanted to keep that streak going.

It was Joshua’s decision to take the rematch with Ruiz Jr. after losing to him by a surprising seventh round knockout loss two months. AJ ignored the recommendations from boxing fans, and exercised his rematch clause to force a second fight with the 29-year-old Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs).

Only time will tell whether Joshua made the correct decision in taking the rematch option. Hearn would have given Joshua a soft path in rebuilding him if he decided against the rematch. Hearn would have put Joshua in against a beatable contender, and rebuilt his confidence slowly. If things go wrong for Joshua, his career is going to be in horrible shape. Hearn would have to go back to the beginning to try and rebuild Joshua if he loses to Ruiz a second time.

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AJ wanted rematch in New York

Joshua was conflicted in which direction to go in for the rematch. He wanted to have an advantage over Ruiz, but he understood the importance of going back to New York. That was where everything ‘went wrong’ as Joshua and his boxing fans like to describe the June 1st massacre. Joshua understood that he needed to go back to New York to ‘get it right.’ His management didn’t want that. It was too risky.

Rather than go back to the U.S to try and win over the fans by redeeming himself, Joshua took the safer match in electing to face Ruiz in Saudi Arabia.

It’s technically a neutral venue, but not in reality. Joshua will be the A-side in this fight. The only thing Ruiz can hope for is a good set of judges and a competent referee will be selected. It’ll be a pointless if the judges and the referee aren’t impartial.

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This is supposed to be neutral territory in Saudi Arabia. That’s impossible when you’re talking about the world’s most famous heavyweight in Joshua. Like with Muhammad Ali, he was always going to be the more popular fighter no matter who he fought and where he fought them around the globe. The good news is Ruiz Jr. will be looking to make sure the referee and judges don’t have a say so in keeping him from winning the fight against Joshua, because he plans on knocking him out – again.

Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. negotiations took longer than expected

Matchroom boss Hearn wanted the location and the date for the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. rematch to have been decided in the beginning of July, but the two sides were unable to agree. What further complicated things is the offers that started to pour in from outside locations wanting to stage the lucrative Joshua vs. Ruiz rematch. Given the huge amount of interest from the boxing world in seeing Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) and Ruiz Jr. fight each other again, Hearn found himself having to sift through the outside offers.

The organization from Saudi Arabia came up with a better offer than what Joshua and Ruiz would have received had they staged the fight in New York back at Madison Square Garden or in Cardiff.  Ruiz Jr. wanted to make sure the rematch with Joshua took place in a neutral venue, because he didn’t fight the judges and the referee as well. Before the final decision was made to stage the rematch in Saudi Arabia, Hearn repeatedly reminded Ruiz and the public that he contractually could have staged the fight in the UK.

Ruiz was uncomfortable with fighting Joshua in his home country of the UK, and Hearn was respectful of that. It would have been a bad look on Hearn and Joshua’s part that they forced the three-belt world champion Ruiz Jr. to come to the UK to fight instead of least staging the rematch in a neutral country. It’s safe to say that if the offer from an organization to stage the Joshua-Ruiz rematch in Saudi Arabia, it likely would have taken place in Cardiff.



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