Hearn talks Joshua vs. Ruiz 2, and Dillian Whyte fighting in Saudi
By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn is calling the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. 2 rematch the “BIGGEST fight ever” for their December 7 contest in Saudi Arabia, and excited about it.
Hearn is expecting the worldwide fan interest in the rematch will reach a point of euphoria by next week, but right now it’s nowhere close to that. While there is interest in the Joshua-Ruiz rematch, it’s not to the level of past mega-fights like Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin or Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao.
Ruiz still not getting credit from Hearn for beating Joshua
Hearn is still blaming Joshua’s previous loss to Ruiz Jr. on him being distracted, and not engaged mentally in the fight. The British promoter continues to not give Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) full credit for his victory, and that indicates that he’s worried about Joshua losing fans.
If Hearn said it like it is, that Joshua was beaten by the better fighter, then a lot of boxing fans might jump ship. Right now, a lot of the fans believe what Hearn has been saying about it being a fluke thing.
Hearn: Joshua’s career won’t be over if he loses to Ruiz
“I said to him [Joshua], ‘Do you want a comeback fight?’ ‘A comeback fight?'” said Hearn to IFL TV in remembering a conversation he had with Joshua when discussing who he should fight after his loss to Ruiz. “Imagine the stick he’d get if he took a comeback fight. It was like, ‘No, I can beat this guy, and that’s what I’m going to try and do. So make the fight.’
“People say, ‘Oh, is this the end?’ If he [Joshua] loses, he’s lost to one man, who has unified the heavyweight division twice in 24 fights. He will box. I think he loves it. This is his life, but does he feel the pressure? Probably, but in a good way this time, you know? Last time, it was pressure in that no one expected him to lose [to Ruiz],” said Hearn about Joshua.
Hearn will make sure that Joshua’s career continues on if he loses the rematch with Ruiz, because there’s too much money to be mined from fans. Even if Joshua gets knocked out in the 1st round, Hearn will bring him back against someone like Luis Ortiz or Michael Hunter, and the fight will make massive money.
Once a fighter achieves stardom, it takes a while before the boxing public stops showing interest in seeing them fight. If Joshua keeps losing, eventually the fans will drift away, and turn up their noses when Hearn continues to try to sell his fights on Sky Box Office.
Joshua was distracted for previous fight with Ruiz – Hearn
“Everyone was moaning that he wasn’t fighting [Deontay] Wilder,” said Hearn in trying to explain why Joshua lost to Ruiz. “It was a no win. Now it’s like, ‘If I beat this guy, I’m a two-time heavyweight champion of the world.
“This fight is the biggest fight. It’s certainly the biggest fight of the decade. Is it the biggest fight of the century? You had Lewis-Tyson in 2001 or 2002. F— it, I’m saying it’s [Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. 2] is the biggest fight ever. This fight is huge,” said Hearn.
“If you’re British, and you believe in good people, back Anthony Joshua. Get behind him,” Hearn said. “Get him over the line. Show him that support that won him that Olympic gold medal [in 2012]. And show him that support that made him get off the floor to defeat Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 people in Wembley. Give him your support, and let’s f— go do this.
“Sorry, Andy. I know there’s a price increase of 4 pounds, and I know that’s never going to make people happy, but this is a momentous occasion, and the card is f— banging. The fight is one of the biggest fights of all time, so tune in. I will ask you to do one thing; support Anthony Joshua. I understand if you’re Mexican, I understand that might not be your cup of tea,” said Hearn.
Eddie is doing Ruiz a huge disservice by attributing his 7th round knockout victory last June due to Joshua being distracted. The fact is, Joshua lost because he doesn’t have the conditioning or the chin to beat Ruiz. It wasn’t because he overlooked Andy.
Joshua vs. Ruiz 2 undercard loaded with heavyweight fights
“By this time next week, there will be global euphoria for Ruiz-Joshua,” Hearn said in predicting the interest fans will have in the fight. “I can’t wait. For those asking, 9:00 p.m. is the first bell for Joshua-Ruiz. You got Dillian Whyte, you got Povetkin vs. Hunter, you got [Filip] Hrgovic against [Eric] Molina, and you got [Mahammadrasul] Majidov against [Tom] Little.
“It’s one of the biggest boxing events of all time. There will be a lot of knockouts, and a lot of excitement, and bringing boxing to a complete new territory. It’s a major win for everybody,” said Hearn.
There are some good heavyweights on the undercard of Joshua vs. Ruiz 2, but the vast majority of the match-ups are mismatches. The only competitive fight involving quality heavyweights on the undercard is the Alexander Povetkin vs. Michael Hunter bout.
That’s going to be an interesting bout for as long as it lasts. Hunter might have the youth to defeat the 40-year-old former WBA heavyweight champion Povetkin.
These are the other not so competitive heavyweight fights on the card:
- Dillian Whyte vs. Mariusz Wach
- Filip Hrgovic vs. Eric Molina
- Mahammadrasul Majidov vs. Tom Little
Dillian Whyte’s B-sample is irrelevant
“We’ve got to get on with his career,” said Hearn about Dillian Whyte. “He’s not suspended, he’s not banned, and he’s been cleared to box by everyone. So what are you going to do? You’re going to get on with your career, and he will be. We pushed for UKAD to come out. The B-sample, I don’t know. The B-sample really isn’t relevant in the situation. What’s relevant is he had his hearing, and he was cleared to fight.
“So you’ve cleared him to fight, and so come out and give the reasons why you cleared him to fight. He’s free to continue his career. There’s loads of stuff that we know. It’s frustrating, because he [Whyte] wants to say so much, but he’s bound by confidentiality. Anything he says, will affect his position. We just want closure, but in the meantime, he’s got to carry on with his career.
“There’s no reason why he shouldn’t. You can’t say to him, ‘You shouldn’t be fighting.’ ‘Why? I’ve been cleared, I’m a license holder, I’ve not been found guilty, and I’m cleared to box. So how can I not box?” said Hearn.
There are a lot of boxing fans that see it as bad form for Hearn to be bringing heavyweight Dillian Whyte back to fight on the Saudi card, because his B-sample still hasn’t been revealed from his previous fight. Whyte (26-1, 18 KOs) test by UKAD showed an adverse finding from his previous bout against Oscar Rivas on July 20.
They had a hearing, and they cleared Whyte to fight, but they haven’t revealed what the results are for his B-sample. So he’s cleared to fight for now, but it the B-sample results test dirty, then there’s a chance that Whyte will be suspended.
Hearn predicts WBC makes Wilder Franchise champion
“It’s been incredibly frustrating to him, because it’s affected his WBC position as well,” sid Hearn in talking about Whyte being removed as Wilder’s WBC mandatory. “But with the Franchise position, you know what’s going to happen.
“When Dillian becomes mandatory, great news. ‘Dillian, you’re fighting the WBC [champion Wilder],’ ‘YES,’ ‘But Wilder, you’re the Franchise champion, and Dillian, you’re boxing #2.’ That’s not what we want. I can’t stress how much good stuff the WBC does. The Franchise champion is not one of them,” said Hearn.
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has already stated that he wants no part of being named as Franchise champion by the WBA, and that’s good news. Hearn is still assuming that Wilder will be made Franchise champion obviously, and will use that to avoid fighting Whyte.
Wilder would have no reason to fear Whyte, because he just beat a fighter in Luis Ortiz, who is arguably better than him. Whyte was on the deck in his last fight against Rivas, and was on the verge of being knocked out in the 12th. Additionally, Joseph Parker had Whyte down in the 12th round last year. If Rivas and Parker were able to hurt Whyte, then it’s easy to extrapolate from those facts to predict a knockout victory for Wilder.
Whyte is facing 39-year-old journeyman Mariusz Wach (35-5, 19 KOs) in a 10 round fight on the Joshua-Ruiz 2 card. Wach has lost 3 out of his last 5 fights, and he’s clearly past his best.