Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua definitely will meet later this year, promoter Eddie Hearn has said, putting to rest rumors that Joshua would turn down a rematch of June’s huge upset in which he lost three of the four major world heavyweight titles.
According to the report, there was talk ringside Saturday at Dillian Whyte’s victory over Oscar Rivas at London’s O2 Arena that Joshua might fight again before facing Ruiz.
Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, has dismissed those whispers, saying an alternative to Joshua-Ruiz II is “not even up for negotiation.”
“Do you think Joshua wants a warm-up? No,” Hearn told “5 Live Boxing,” adding that Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in Wales was the “front-runner” to host the rematch on Dec. 14. New York’s Madison Square Garden, where Ruiz ruined Joshua’s U.S. debut on June 1, is the top alternative on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving.
Joshua, who turns 30 in October, would be seeking to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles he lost to Ruiz, but delays in confirming a rematch led to speculation that Joshua might look for a tuneup beforehand – a move that Hearn admitted he might prefer.
“It’s not even up for negotiation if he’s taking that fight or not,” Hearn said. “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 favorite 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 added that Wales’ national stadium, which seats 80,000, offers a “tempting” capacity and, more important, because it has a roof to deal with the British winter is the only viable option in the UK for such a big fight.