By Jake Tiernan: Eddie Hearn revealed today that Tyson Fury would be defending his WBC heavyweight title next against Andy Ruiz Jr on July 22nd.
This is a critical must-win fight for Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) because he needs to be victorious to face either Anthony Joshua or IBF, WBA & WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in December as part of a massive card in Saudi Arabia.
With Fury getting older and no longer capable of movement like he once did, he’s made to order for a fighter like Ruiz. This is a fight that Fury isn’t going to win if all he’s capable of doing is wrestling and/or flicking a limp jab from the outside, hoping that’ll keep Ruiz off him.
Hearn says that Joshua will face either Fury or Deontay Wilder in December in the card in Saudi. He will be traveling to Saudi Arabia next week for discussions on AJ’s fight in December.
“Andy Ruiz, July 22nd,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing King Media when asked about Tyson Fury fighting in the summer.
Fury will be taking a considerable risk fighting the former IBF, WBA & WBO champion Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) because this is a much stricter match-up for him than his recent fights against British journeymen Derek Chisora and Dillian Whyte.
Ruiz is fighting at a higher than we witnessed from Deontay Wilder in his three contests against Fury. The hand speed, combination punching, and the power of Ruiz could give Fury fits.
The leaning & wrestling tactics that we’ve seen Fury using nonstop to win fights since teaming up with SugarHill Steward might not work against Ruiz, who has treetrunk legs and would be able to support Fury’s weight should he try and lean on him all night to tire him out.
Moreover, grappling all night will put Tyson at close range for Ruiz’s speedy combinations to the head. In other words, it won’t work for Fury if he attempts to recycle the same fight strategy against Ruiz that he used against Chisora, Whytee & Wilder. What worked against them could be a total failure against Ruiz.
Given what’s on the line in December in terms of money in Saudi Arabia, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Fury elects not to take the risky fight against Ruiz on July 22nd. Fury might not want to risk his mega-million payday by facing Ruiz, who is no walk in the park for anyone.