Eddie Hearn insists Andy Ruiz Jr will be perfectly safe in Saudi Arabia if he fights Anthony Joshua there on December 7 as planned.
Last week rival promoter Bob Arum put Hearn on blast for choosing the Middle East sovereign state to host the rematch, saying that Ruiz Jr would not be safe there.
Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn labelled the comment “rubbish”, adding that Ruiz “will be the safest person on the planet.”
Hearn added: “We’ve been there. We’ve got everything completely under control. Everything will be absolute perfection. We have everything in place to make sure this event is safe as possible.”
Ruiz Jr knocked out Joshua in seven rounds at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships.
That victory triggered the rematch clause in the original contract with Team Joshua allowed to pick the venue for the second go-round.
Ruiz Jr is reluctant to travel overseas to defend his unified heavyweight championship but Hearn insists Saudi Arabia was chosen as a neutral location.
The Saudis reportedly stumped up $70 million to secure the bout.
“In all the conversations we’ve had with the Ruiz team, he didn’t want to do it in London,” Hearn said.
“We said: ‘What would you like, London or Saudi Arabia?’ Their response was Saudi Arabia.”
Hearn believes there is a burgeoning market for boxing in the Middle East and it’s one he is keen to tap into.
“I keep saying to people there’s a whole ’nother world out there for boxing,” Hearn said. “If the Middle East becomes invested in the sport of boxing, I promise you will not be seeing as many mega-fights in this country or the UK. This country and the UK cannot match the potential investment of fights in the Middle East.”
An official press conference to announce Ruiz Jr-Joshua II is expected to take place within the next fortnight.
Joshua 22-1 (21) will need to be more focused for Ruiz Jr 33-1 (22) the second time around after the Mexican-American – who took the fight on six weeks’ notice – had him on the deck four times in their first bout.
“The loss has brought him to the reality of the situation, which is anything can happen at any time and that people will back you on the way up and kick you on the way down, so [the heck] with everybody,” Hearn said.
“This time he’s just focused on Andy Ruiz. In that first fight it was about [Deontay] Wilder and [Tyson] Fury. He just wasn’t up for fighting Ruiz. Or is Andy Ruiz just really good? Does he have his number? We’ll find out.”
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