Ruiz does not want to fight Joshua in Saudi Arabia, Hearn threatens legal action

Unified heavyweight world titleholder Andy Ruiz Jr. called for a neutral site for his much-anticipated rematch with former titlist Anthony Joshua. He got the neutral site, just not the one he wanted.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced last week that the rematch would take place on Dec. 14 in a yet to be constructed outdoor arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Ruiz was not happy about it.

On June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York, Ruiz (33-1, 22 KO’s), 29, of Imperial, California, rallied from a third-round knockdown to drop Joshua (22-1, 21 KO’s), 29, of England, four times, twice in the third, and twice more in the seventh round to score the knockout in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. Ruiz also became the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight title and snagged three of the four titles from Joshua in one night.

Ruiz wants the fight to take place in the United States or Mexico, although he has no say. The newly-crowned champion agreed to terms for the rematch before the first fight even took place.

It is a game of chicken. Ruiz’s camp is well aware that they are largely locked in. If anything, Ruiz is trying to get the deal sweetened financially, and that will solve the problem.

“I know everyone is talking about the fight and all that,” Ruiz said on Tuesday on Instagram. “But we got the real news coming soon, and the fight is gonna happen soon.

“AJ got the rematch, yes we do got the rematch. But it’s gonna be on my terms. We’re gonna bring it back here in the United States.”

Hearn threatened Ruiz with litigation on Wednesday if the Mexican-American refused to fight in the Middle East.

“The contract for the rematch was signed prior to the first fight,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “They were both signed at the same time. There is no other contract. We have to let (Andy and his team) know the time, date and venue which we have done. That’s it. They are contractually bound for the rematch. There are no conversations between the two teams about not doing the fight. I don’t perceive a problem.”

Ruiz could decide to refuse to fight, but Hearn added that there would be severe consequences for breaching the contract. Moreover, litigation would also increase the likelihood that Ruiz would be forced to sit on the sidelines as the legal process takes its course, meaning Ruiz would likely be stripped of his titles.

Ruiz knew what he was getting into before he fought Joshua on June 1.

“He signed a contract with us that he was absolutely over the moon with. That gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. He will 100 percent honour that contract. His choice is to have a legal battle that could put him out of boxing for years, or to defend his belts for a lot of money against a guy he has already beaten. There isn’t any doubt he will take the fight. Any messing around and Ruiz Jr will lose belts, and he won’t want to do that. We expect the IBF, WBA, and WBO belts to be on the line.”

According to sources reporting to, Ruiz is expected to make around $9 million for the rematch, while Joshua is expected to pocket around $31 million.

Share this story

must see