Andy Ruiz Jr insists that he will not fight Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia despite the rematch being announced this week.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed on Monday that both heavyweights had signed contracts to meet again on December 7. Ruiz Jr shocked the world when he stopped the British favourite back in June and is adamant that the fight must take place on US soil.
The IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion broke his silence on the eagerly anticipated rematch with Joshua via Instagram in a live video, stating: “I know everybody’s talking about the fight and all, but we got the real news coming soon. The fight is going to happen soon. I’m trying to give hope, give motivation to all my people.”
Ruiz filmed the short clip while on a plane to Mexico City to film an advertisement.
The 29-year-old Mexican has already refused a potential rematch in the UK, voicing concerns after Dillian Whyte was cleared to box Oscar Rivas last month despite an “adverse finding” in a pre-fight drug test.
However, Joshua invoked a rematch clause which was part of Ruiz Jr’s original contract for their first clash on June 1, in which the colossal heavyweight upset occurred. As a result, the details of the rematch do not need to be agreed in fresh negotiations.
Matchroom kingpin Hearn believes Saudi Arabia is an ideal venue for the bout, and confirmed both fighters are contractually bound for the rematch. “The contract for the rematch was signed prior to the first fight,” said Hearn said.
“They both signed at the same time. There is no other contract. We have to let Ruiz Jr know the time, date and venue which we have done. That’s it. He signed a contract with us that he was absolutely over the moon with, that gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. He will 100 percent honour that contract. His choice is to have a legal battle that could put him out of boxing for years, or to defend his belts for a lot of money against a guy he has already beaten. There isn’t any doubt he will take the fight. Any messing around and Ruiz Jr will lose belts, and he won’t want to do that. We expect the IBF, WBA and WBO belts all to be on the line.”