Promoter Eddie Hearn has dismissed rumours that Anthony Joshua will take a warm-up bout ahead of his mooted rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr later this year.
Former IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua lost his unified heavyweight championship to late replacement Ruiz Jr, who took the fight on six weeks’ notice, at Madison Square Garden in New York last month.
In an interview with BBC 5 Live Hearn reaffirmed that Principality Stadium in Cardiff on December 14 remains the frontrunner to host the rematch despite newly crowned champion Ruiz Jr pushing for the fight to return to New York.
Over the weekend there was speculation during Dillian Whyte’s decision win over Oscar Rivas at London’s O2 Arena that Joshua would avoid an immediate rematch with Ruiz Jr.
But Hearn laughed off that talk.
“Do you think Joshua wants a warm-up? No,” Hearn said to BBC 5 Live.
“It’s not even up for negotiation if he’s taking that fight or not. That fight is happening. Someone just asked me ‘do you think he should be taking this fight?’ I said ‘probably not’. In an ideal world probably you’d like a 10-rounder.
“If you’re a favourite for a fight for the heavyweight titles, you’re taking that fight. It is risky, dangerous, dramatic but it’s the biggest fight in world boxing.”
Hearn’s comments come after Ruiz Jr told Fox Sports that he is pushing for a return to Madison Square Garden for the Joshua rematch.
“We’re still in negotiations, they [are] trying to make us go over there,” Ruiz Jr said. “We are trying to get it back here in New York. I’d be more comfortable here.”