Ruiz balks at preventing Joshua in Saudi Arabia

12:06 PM ET

  • Dan RafaelESPN Senior Author


    • 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism
    • boxing author since 2005
    • 5 years at USA Right now

Earlier than unified heavyweight world titleholder Andy Ruiz Jr. and former titlist Anthony Joshua struggle within the ring of their much-anticipated rematch, there apparently can be a struggle over the place the bout will happen.

Ruiz was vocal about not eager to have the rematch on Joshua’s turf in the UK when the probably website was going to be Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. However when Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn introduced final Friday that the bout would happen on Dec. 14 in a soon-to-be-constructed outside stadium in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, the place the federal government is backing a website price value tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, Ruiz additionally was not happy.

He desires the struggle to happen in the USA or Mexico, though contractually he has no say on the matter.

“I do know everyone seems to be speaking concerning the struggle and all that,” Ruiz stated on Tuesday in a dwell Instagram chat. “However we bought the true information coming quickly and the struggle is gonna occur quickly.”

In answering fan questions, Ruiz later stated, “AJ bought the rematch, sure we do bought the rematch. But it surely’s gonna be on my phrases. We’re gonna deliver it again right here in the USA.”

That notion would fly within the face of Hearn’s announcement on Friday and subsequent information convention in London on Monday when he appeared with Omar Khalil, the managing associate of Talent Problem Leisure, the corporate that spearheaded the Saudi Arabian effort to land the struggle, and mentioned a wide range of features of the struggle happening in Saudi Arabia.

Hearn reiterated that the positioning can be Diriyah.

“Completely it is going to,” Hearn advised ESPN on Wednesday. “We’ve been in fixed contact with Ruiz’s promoter (Tom Brown of TGB Promotions) and workforce concerning the rematch. Collectively we’ve got written to all of the governing our bodies to substantiate the date and site of the bout and the press convention will happen in the beginning of September.”

Hearn stated there can be a kickoff information convention in Saudi Arabia adopted by stops in London and New York.

On June 1 at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York, Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), 29, of Imperial, California, survived a third-round knockdown to drop Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), 29, of England, twice later within the third spherical and scored two extra knockdowns within the seventh spherical to attain a seventh-round knockout. It was one of many largest upsets in boxing historical past as Ruiz claimed three main heavyweight titles from Joshua and have become the primary fighter of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight world title.

Ruiz had taken the bout on only some weeks’ discover, personally messaging Hearn in an effort to land the bout after New York contender Jarrell “Huge Child” Miller was dropped after testing constructive in 4 random drug assessments.

As is typical in boxing, when a non-mandatory challenger receives a title shot, he nearly all the time has to comply with a rematch clause and pre-determined phrases for that rematch within the occasion that he wins. So, in his preliminary settlement, Ruiz’s purse for a possible rematch in case he gained was already specified — round $9 million, in keeping with sources — as was the acknowledgement that Joshua’s facet would management the occasion, which means the positioning, the date, the placement, any broadcast offers, and many others.

Hearn has stated that Ruiz’s unique contract for the primary struggle certainly specified that Joshua’s facet would management the positioning of the rematch.

Ruiz may definitely refuse to struggle, however not solely would he be giving up his largest payday — by far — he would additionally face litigation that, if earlier comparable case outcomes are taken under consideration, would imply the probability that he could be enjoined from preventing for a prolonged time frame until he fights Joshua subsequent. If Ruiz nonetheless determined to sit down out, he nearly definitely could be stripped of his titles over time resulting from inactivity.

Extra probably, Ruiz’s workforce is angling simply to get higher phrases for the rematch, not an unusual factor in boxing when there’s a lot cash concerned. Ruiz-Joshua II might be value 9 figures total.

“AJ, he is scared. Hell yeah, why do you assume he is over there, making an attempt to make the struggle in Saudi Arabia,” Ruiz stated in his Instagram video. “Look, United States of America desires to… by no means thoughts, I am unable to say nothing. However the struggle is gonna occur quickly.”

Brown couldn’t be reached for remark.

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