Anthony Joshua will rematch Ruiz Jr for the WBA (Super), WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia on December 7.
Olympic gold medallist Joshua will be bidding to erase the memory of the spectacular seventh-round defeat he suffered to Mexico’s first heavyweight champion in June, the first of his career.
Ruiz Jr vs Joshua II was initially expected to take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff or Madison Square Garden, the latter being the venue for the biggest upset in boxing history since James ‘Buster’ Douglas upset Mike Tyson 29 years ago.
However, a whopping late bid from Saudi dignitaries – which Express Sport understands was in the region of £83million ($100million) – proved to be too much to turn down and resulted in the clash taking place in Diriyah.
The decision to host one of, if not, the biggest fight British boxing match of the last ten years in the Middle East has left many fight fans perplexed and questioning the motives behind the venue choice.
Many have cited monetary gain as the reason for the bout being held in the oil-rich country.
And according to reports, Hearn and Joshua have landed a huge payday for the fight landing in Saudi.
On Friday night, The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger claimed Hearn has managed to secure an extra £33million ($40million) for bringing the fight to Saudi.
Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua II will take place in Saudi Arabia
He tweeted: “Sources tell @TheAthleticBOX that Eddie Hearn secured a site fee in excess of $40 million to bring Andy Ruiz-Anthony Joshua 2 to Saudi Arabia.”
According to Coppinger, Ruiz Jr won’t receive a penny of that figure as he’s only entitled to the purse agreed in his original contract to face ‘AJ’.
He added: “Ruiz’s purse was set in the rematch clause, — a fixed guarantee — so he won’t see any of that money, but he does get his neutral site.”
Ruiz Jr put on the performance of his career to dethrone Joshua, dropping him four times on his way claiming four heavyweight titles.
Joshua has offered no excuses for his first professional loss but has vowed to erase in spectacular fashion.
“It’s a fight I know I can win, and that’s what makes it important, because I know I can win,” the 29-year-old told Sky Sports.
“What makes it more important is how I prepare for this fight.
“And that’s why, when I looked at my options of what we need to do as a team, whether we keep it the same, add to what we have or got rid of it, I thought option two was the best because I’m only a product of what I’m taught in the gym.
“And I wanna add to what I have, so that when I go to fight Ruiz in the rematch – he’s gonna assume that was the best Anthony Joshua in the ring.
“And I think I fought the best Ruiz in the ring that night. But when I come for that rematch, he’s gonna be dealing with a completely different beast.
“It’s a little blip, a mistake I made. And I would say Ruiz was ready to be taken out.
“I’m just gonna add to what we already have, correct my wrongs and look forward to the rematch, because I feel it’s a fight I can win.”
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