In a bit of a shocker, it has been confirmed by various sources that Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua will stage their rematch on December 7th in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. This is surprising news, given that many were still on the edge of their seat with speculation as to where the fight would eventually land.
Two months ago, Ruiz sent the sport into a shockwave when he upset Joshua inside of Madison Square Garden in New York on a DAZN broadcast. The heavy-set Mexican American was in trouble in the third, as a counter from Joshua sent him to the deck, but he rose to score four more knockdowns and a TKO victory of his own.
It was a surprising sight, and one of the most memorable events in boxing in 2019 thus far.
A press conference with further details is targeted for Monday, and it appears that the fight will air on Sky Box Office in the U.K. and again on DAZN for other customers. Also expect to see a temporary outdoor arena to be built to stage the event.
Entering their first fight on June 1st, “The Destroyer” Ruiz was a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, who had tested positive for various PEDS before the match. Ruiz (33-2, 22 KO’s) wasn’t expected to win, but he defied the odds vs. Joshua (22-1, 21 KO’s).
What’s interesting about this latest news is that Ruiz had been adamant about not traveling to the UK for the rematch. And it looks like he will get his wish, although still on foreign soil.
Recently, promoted Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing revealed that he was close to announcing the new venue for the rematch.
“I have been ringing Ruiz’s team this week and keeping them up to speed with where we are going,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “Look, they don’t want to come to the UK, they never have done. We want to make sure we get the fight done and we want to respect Andy Ruiz. We will decide where the venue is. A neutral venue he would be much happier with but I think I can rule out America right now.”
This is a surprise to see the fight land in Saudi Arabia, and you must wonder how all this will play out. Many thought that the frontrunners to land this fight were Las Vegas, New York, or England. It likely doesn’t really benefit either man, as they both will be experiencing a prize fight on neutral territory.
As for the rematch, we can now count down the days. We are presently still four months removed from the second encounter and now we can see whether Ruiz scored a fluke knockout or it he can do it again.
Each man’s preparation for the rematch will be key, as well as how they handle getting acclimated to Saudi Arabia.