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Talks underway for Andy Ruiz Jr to face Dillian Whyte

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr 33-2 (22) could face Dillian Whyte 27-1 (18) in America, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

The Matchroom Boxing boss said a lucrative offer has been made to the Ruiz Jr camp after the Mexican-American surrendered his IBF, WBA and WBO championships to Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21) in their rematch in Saudi Arabia last month.

Ruiz Jr, who shocked the boxing world with his seventh-round knockout of Joshua at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in June, split from trainer Manny Robles following his lacklustre points loss to Joshua in their second go round.

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“Yeah [Ruiz’s team] are very interested,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “The first offer was for a UK fight, which wasn’t enough money. The second fight was a lot more money, and that was for the US fight, which has definitely got their attention.

“It’s risky times for Ruiz. If he comes back in the Dillian Whyte fight and loses, where do you go from there? He’s probably wanted to get a bit of momentum, but then again, he wants to prove himself. If he fancies the Dillian Whyte fight, that’s there.”

The stakes would be high in a Ruiz Jr-Whyte fight, with the former world champion risking his career and the 31-year-old Brit risking his WBC mandatory title shot.

Despite the discussions with Team Ruiz Jr, Hearn says Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin remains the frontrunner to face Whyte.

“I think it will probably be Povetkin next for Dillian Whyte and I think it could be Ruiz straight after that,” said Hearn.

“As always, he’s throwing himself in the deep end, Dillian Whyte, he’s in a mandatory position as he has been for about 62 years, and then who has he beat on the way? [Dereck] Chisora twice, Joseph Parker, Oscar Rivas, [Mariusz] Wach last time out.

“Now he’s fighting Povetkin, Ruiz. I mean he’s got the best resume of a guy who has never fought for a world title, by a country mile. We want to make sure he gets that shot.”

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