Former world title challenger Andy Ruiz Jr 32-1 (21) has entered the race to face unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1.
The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion was scheduled to face Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller 23-0-1 (20) before the Brooklyn brawler failed three drug tests for banned substances.
Earlier, promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed the ESPN that they were looking at six names to replace Miller, with Ruiz Jr joining Michael Hunter, Manuel Charr, Trevor Bryan, Agit Kabayel and Luis Ortiz making the shortlist – although the Ortiz camp have reportedly withdrawn from negotiations after being offered a purse they consider a lowball offer.
Ruiz Jr, who is coming off a fifth round stoppage win over veteran Alexander Dimitrenko on Saturday night, has called on Joshua to “sign your portion” of the deal.
“Anthony Joshua, I’m your opponent for June 1,” Ruiz Jr wrote on social media. “I’m here I’m ready. Sign your portion. It’s been a long time coming. We shoulda met few years ago when I fought for the WBO belt.”
The lone loss on Ruiz Jr’s ledger came against Joseph Parker in a close majority decision in New Zealand for the vacant WBO heavyweight title.
“Styles make fights, I know my style is one that you haven’t met before. That WBO belt is actually mine because the whole world knows I beat Parker for it in New Zealand,” Ruiz Jr continued.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to get these straps from you. You can hold them for me until June 1.
“To anybody counting me out already get in line I’ve been counted out since I first started fighting. Nothing is stopping me now.”