Dubai: Will it or won’t it? This is the dilemma facing Middle East fight fans in the wake of a new twist to the proposed Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch in Saudi Arabia this December.
Less than three days after Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s manager and Matchroom Sport Ltd supremo, told a press conference that “both fighters have signed for this rematch and all governing bodies have been informed”, Ruiz has thrown a spanner in the works by contradicting Hearn’s comments.
The Mexican, who stunned Joshua and the world when he stopped the Brit in New York in June, wants the rematch to be held on his “terms”.
He [Ruiz] signed a contract with us that he was absolutely over the moon with, that gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. He will 100 per cent honour that contract.
While speaking to fans in an Instagram live video, Ruiz even accused Joshua of running “scared” and said: “Why do you think he’s over there trying to make the fight in Saudi Arabia?
“I know everybody is talking about the fight and all that but we got real news coming soon.”
“Of course [I’m taking the rematch] but it’s going to be on our terms. We’re going to bring it back to the United States,” The Mirror reported.
The Mexican also back-tracked his previous comments defending why the fight should not happen in Saudi Arabia.
“Like I said, I don’t have any protection over there, so if the United States of America wants to ... never mind, I can’t say nothing.
“The fight is going to happen soon.”
12,000seats, is capacity of proposed fight venue
Meanwhile Hearn told Sky Sports: “There are no conversations between the two teams about not doing the fight. I don’t perceive a problem.
“He [Ruiz] signed a contract with us that he was absolutely over the moon with, that gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. He will 100 per cent honour that contract.”
It is proposed the fight, for Ruiz’s three heavyweight world titles, will take place at a purpose-built 12,000-seater open-air arena in Diriyah on December 7.
Hearns had also revealed that a series of press conferences are due to be held in the first week of September at locations in Saudi Arabia, London and New York.
“This event could change boxing forever, because if Saudi Arabia are willing to invest in these fights, you could see a big change in the dynamic of the sport,” he stressed in his press conference on Tuesday.
“There was a lot of talk about where this fight would be held but we wanted to go somewhere who believed in the sport of boxing and had a vision.
“There is another world outside of Cardiff and Madison Square Garden and we have an obligation to grow the sport of boxing in new areas and regions.”