Unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr has responded to Anthony Joshua’s wish for their highly anticipated rematch to take place in the UK as negotiations on the venue drag on.
“AJ says he can ‘whoop’ me in Tijuana prove it let’s run it in Mexico,” said Ruiz Jr on social media in response to comments from Joshua to Sky Sports.
Ruiz Jr claimed the IBF, WBA and WBO world titles with a shock seventh round knockout win over Joshua at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in June.
Joshua invoked the rematch clause in their contract almost immediately after the loss with the return bout expected to take place in either November or December. The location remains the only sticking point.
Joshua spoke to Sky Sports about the fight earlier this week.
“Ruiz, I’ve seen he’s done a lot of talking about what he wants, but he don’t call the shots in that sense, it’s a team effort,” he said.
“It’s fine, I don’t mind fighting him in America, I’ve done it before, and I’d love to fight here because I had no reason to go in the first place.
“I went there off my own back, so for the rematch now, I would love it to be in Cardiff, however, [if] it’s going to be on neutral ground, Ruiz is the champ, we’ll kind of make some calls as well in that situation.
“But I’m going to battle for it to be in the UK, because it’s my stomping ground. I done one out there, so let’s do the rematch here. I think it will be amazing before the year is out and I’ll definitely be having a lovely New Year’s with my family.
“You’ve got two ends of it. There’s one, I’d fight in Tijuana and Ruiz’s uncle could be the referee and I would still whoop him. It don’t matter to me where it is, there’s that aspect, but then there’s the other aspect of the British fans that have been riding with me from day one want to see me get them belts back.
“Walking out in Cardiff in front of 70, 80, 90,000 people screaming and rooting for you to win, that type of energy that goes through your body is unstoppable, and I think that could give me that little bit of edge I need to win those belts.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said last week: “I know, I think, where the fight is going, but I just have to wait for some paperwork to be tied up and then we’ll make an announcement.
“Cardiff is still a major option. We have two or three other options around the world for neutral venues.
“Neutral venues would give us a lot less headache with Andy Ruiz, but if it’s Wales, it’s Wales, and that’s where the fight will be.”